The Philippines’ military chief on Wednesday assured the public that the entire force was “solidly behind’’ the chain of command after President Rodrigo Duterte challenged disgruntled officers to launch a coup against him.
General Carlito Galvez said he was confident that soldiers “will decline firmly all attempts to create a wedge in the armed forces’’ as part of their oath to protect the constitution.
“I recommit to the nation the unity and firm resolve of the armed forces of the Philippines for an unflinching loyalty to the constitution and the duly constituted authorities,’’ he said.
“I assure our people, and there is no reason to doubt, that the 145,000 strong soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines of the armed forces are solidly behind the chain of command,’’ he added.
On Tuesday, Duterte said a group of opposition politicians, former soldiers and communist rebel leaders hatched a plot to unseat him, based on intelligence information gathered by a third country.
The politicians allegedly included Sen. Antonio Trillanes, a former navy lieutenant, who led two failed coup attempts against former President Gloria Arroyo in 2003 and 2007.
Trillanes was given amnesty under the administration of former President Benigno Aquino, but Duterte revoked it in a proclamation signed Aug. 31, alleging that the senator failed to comply with some requirements.
Duterte said he was not afraid of coup rumours, which have been circulating since he voided Trillanes’ amnesty.
“I am challenging you now. I’m tired of threats. Do it now,’’ he said in a televised conversation with presidential legal adviser Salvador Panelo on Tuesday.