Threat of a coup? Absolutely nothing!

Dennis Acop
Soldiers have learned their lessons from the past and are not stupid enough to repeat these mistakes

Dencio Severo AcopI was a 2nd lieutenant in February 1986 and was with General Fidel Ramos as part of his security detail then. Just 3 years out of West Point, I was very idealistic, a bit naive, but definitely full of hope and zeal.

As members of the Philippine Constabulary Special Action Force, we were among the best trained in the Armed Forces at that time. Had battles actually been fought, we certainly would have taken down many brothers with us right inside Camp Aguinaldo or Camp Crame.

The euphoria after Edsa felt like the post-war peacetime my grandparents always talked about when I was a kid. In hindsight and seeing what is happening to our country today, I say it is all a big letdown. But I believe more in the spirit now than man’s material capacity for self-resolution.

Twenty-six years after the Edsa revolution, what does Christian Monsod say? He says that some 33.4 million Filipinos continue to be poor, with one-fourth of them deemed “food poor” or unable to partake of the “daily minimum requirement of 2,000 calories.” The gap between the haves and have-nots has remained the same or that the collective “income of the top 1% of families (some 185,000 individuals) equals that of the bottom 30% (around 5.5 million people).” 

The oligarchy that Marcos sustained with another oligarchy is very much alive. The old oligarchy that was marginalized by Marcos but restored by the Cory Aquino regime has managed to survive through younger generations of the same bloodlines that have always had access to the corridors of political and corporate power.

Yes, the faces may no longer be as fair, but their stranglehold on political power and the national wealth reminds us of the time when public office was for sale as a tribute to a monarch thousands of nautical miles away.

Corona’s sins

Today, we are witness to an impeachment trial not of the common wrongdoer but the uncommon.

Perhaps we should reverse the allusion as more and more of the supposed “honorable” men and women of our society appear to be getting embroiled in all kinds of mispropriety – ranging from massive graft and corruption to gross abuse of power and betrayal of public trust.

The defendant in this case is no less than the Chief Justice. Among the many sins Renato Corona is accused of is unduly protecting his patron, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, from facing prosecution.

Truth is that the trial is merely a proxy war between the abusive past administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the incumbent administration of President Benigno Aquino III.

The trial is a battle between an already demonstrated governance by self-interest and an avowed governance by the straight path. It is a significant battle in the war between forces that are content to maintain the status quo and those that are willing to radically alter the present state of domestic affairs – even if this means assaulting the interests of the local elite. Or so it seems.

Coup rumors

Suddenly, as in past administrations when the sins of the previous regime are exposed by the incumbent government, rumors of a coup abound when all else fails.

In the present case, such rumors are being spread at a time when the Senate may just decide to convict Corona.

Rep Rodolfo Biazon, a retired general and former AFP chief of staff, recently revealed that retired generals identified with GMA are behind the coup rumors.

There is no need to identify who these retired generals are. We all know who were the rabid supporters of GMA when she was still in power.

It is indeed ironic that these same people who repeatedly used the specter of a communist takeover (real or imagined but mostly imagined) or “destabilization” from coup plotters are exactly the same people who are crying wolf today.

Of course, the generals conveniently supported her as they also benefited immensely from the quid-pro-quo arrangement; never mind that the ordinary soldier did not.

What now of the threat of a coup? Absolutely nothing.

Lacking support

First of all, retired generals do not have the support of the active men and women in uniform who do not share their passion for political convenience.

Second, soldiers have enough pressure from their active-duty bosses that they do not need more, especially coming from the “retired” ones.

Third, mounting a coup is a heinous crime punishable by the severest of sanctions. Soldiers have learned their lessons from the past and are therefore not stupid enough to repeat these mistakes.

Finally, many of these retired generals are so wealthy and weary that they no longer have the youthful passion, much more idealism, to remove themselves from their comfort zones and risk everything. –                          

(The author has left the military and is now with the private sector.)

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