Philippines: Military Refuses to Attack Itself


February 28, 2006: The feeble coup attempt against president Gloria Arroyo typifies the current attitude of most Filipinos. There is disgust with the continued corruption and government inefficiency, but resignation that there does not appear to be anyone in the wings ready to fix it all. Filipinos have tried everything. This includes the few wealthy families that have, since World War II, taken turns supplying most of the presidents (as well as judges, legislators, generals and so on). Nothing that, the voters have also tried electing celebrities, women and generals as president. Nothing works. The corruption and legislative logjam remains. That's not the spirit of revolution in the street, but resignation.

The current coup appears to be the result of an alliance of convenience between far-left and far-right groups. That's why the effort failed, for only the great middle can bring down an unpopular president. The majority of military and police commanders supported the president. The far-right and far-left groups wanted to "clean up government," and too many people in government do not want to be cleaned out.

February 27, 2006: The government began to round up people involved in last weeks coup attempt. These included five legislators, as well as police commanders and former army officers. The complete list of those sought by the police is said to be between 100-200.

February 26, 2006: The commander of the Filipino marines, who had subordinates participating a coup against the government, accepted the presidential order that he step down. There was just not enough popular support to back the coup attempt. Filipinos are angry, but not angry enough to support another coup.

February 24, 2006: President Arroyo declared a state of emergency, in order to deal with the coup attempt against her. Police arrested the commander of the Scout Rangers, the most capable unit in the army. The Scout Rangers have not been happy with being sent into dangerous situations, only to find the rebels they were hunting have bought their way out of arrest by bribing politicians or army generals.

February 23, 2006: Politicians and members of the military tried, and failed, to carry out a coup against president Gloria Arroyo. The majority of the military commanders continue to support the president. There have been constant coup rumors for the past year, and apparently the presidential staff was successful in tracking, and identifying them.

February 22, 2006: Fourteen army officers were arrested and charged with planning to overthrow the government. This was a separate operation from the other, and larger, coup attempt.


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