Threats of a Coup

The threat of coup d’etat from the military and organized critics of the president has been with us since the time of President Cory Aquino. This was unknown and not present during the terms of all presidents before Ferdinand Marcos.

The reason for this unlikely situation is that EDSA One, the putsch that overthrew Marcos, had all the makings of a successful coup, complete even with the support of the United States and the Catholic Church.

Cory herself had to ward off not just coup threats, but actual coups d’etat — a predicament also faced by Presidents Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the former succumbing to it and the later, surviving the armed challenge by the skin of her teeth.

Since it looked like it comes with the territory, it is small wonder, then, that President Duterte is now pestered with threats of a coup, despite all the cooperation, caring, and pampering that he does to appease the military establishment. And he did this since day one of his administration.

Despite the fact that the president has had to receive flak for appointing retired generals in numerous key positions in the executive department, he continues to do so. The president also favored the military and the police in terms of salary hikes, housing projects, scholarships, medical expenses, and other subsidies.

But still coup rumors persist. One reason, perhaps, is the desire of some officials in the U.S. to remove Duterte from office and replace him with Vice President Leonor Robredo.

The recent pronouncement by Communist Party founder Jose Ma Sison on the subject may be revealing. Sison said the U.S. could stage a coup against Duterte after the president challenged the U.S. to wage war with China amid the territorial dispute in the South China Sea.

Sison added that the United States does not need to fire the first shot against China as the U.S. could easily remove Duterte from office through a coup. He said the U.S. could instruct Filipino soldiers to have Duterte taken into custody as a traitor and have Robredo installed as his successor.

Joma Sison’s familiarity with this business of power grab lends credence to charges that he is now a U.S. stooge. Is he really?

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