Why coup plots have a dismal track record of failure
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2012-03-13
According to Muntinlupa City Representative Rodolfo Biazon, retired generals from the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) regime have been meeting since November 2011 in order to plot a military coup that’s intended to topple President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy). Senator Sonny Trillanes IV shared the same information. In our contemporary history, coup plotters proved to be greater threats to themselves than to the government but a coup, whether serious or mere daydreaming, has to be monitored.

The November 2011 timing mentioned by Biazon as the start of the said recruitment is significant in the light of the recent events involving the detention of GMA for charges of electoral fraud and the impeachment trial of Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice (CJ) Renato Corona. A GMA desperately seeking escape from the many cases filed and will still be filed against her is more than enough motivation for one seeking to escape from accountability.

Several factors determine if a coup can attract public support. For a coup to succeed, it must attract the critical mass. The most important factor is the unpopularity of the sitting president, in this case — P-Noy. In fact, for the coup plotters to even get to first base, the people’s disenchantment with the administration should have elevated to what can be called HATE level. Even if the coup plotters have billions to buy mercenaries, most of the officers in the active service will ask the recruiter about their chances of getting public support.

Coup plotting is a very serious business where life and fortune are both placed on the line. A mere dislike for P-Noy will not get people involved in a coup to oust him. As we know, P-Noy continues to enjoy phenomenal trust and approval ratings from the credible SWS (Social Weather Stations) and Pulse Asia polls. If a very unpopular president like GMA could not be ousted by a coup, how can a very popular president like P-Noy be toppled by it?

Another major factor that will decide if a coup can be attempted is the mood of the AFP. The present AFP likes what their Commander-in-Chief has been doing — the cleaning up of the corruption in the military, the diligent allocation of housing benefits, among others. The AFP also knows that coups do not succeed if launched against popular presidents — especially those who are widely perceived as clean and working for the common good. 

Rep. Biazon mentioned that the coup recruiters are trying to provoke the officers and soldiers into action by spreading the clear falsehood that P-Noy has entered into an alliance with the Left. Maybe our soldiers will buy that falsehood if they’re not watching television at all, where almost every week the Left and their front organizations are seen as the bitterest attackers of the P-Noy administration. The Left has been consistently hitting P-Noy for being pro-US, often burning the effigies of Uncle Sam and P-Noy during their demonstrations and rallies.

Compared to the 1980s when the Red bogey was used against the Cory Aquino administration, there is hardly anything to support that falsehood of a P-Noy-Left alliance. Scan the roster of P-Noy’s closest cabinet members and appointees and you won’t find the usual suspects. The coup plotters must think that the AFP officers and soldiers are stupid to be peddling that line. That point of attack merely accentuates their lack of valid issues.

Coup attempts also thrive when the economy is on a downward tailspin or when a regime is overly oppressive. The aborted February 1986 coup of the RAM (Reform the Armed Forces Movement), which led to EDSA People Power, was launched amidst a major economic slowdown that was triggered by the August 21, 1983 Ninoy Aquino assassination. Today, the Philippines is gaining tremendous investors confidence with the DAANG MATUWID policies of the P-Noy administration. Our stock market has exceeded the 5,000 points PSE Index. S & P, HSBC Research, Goldman Sachs et al have been united in telling the world that we’re the ASEAN economy to jump into. The GMA camp has been trying to make the current impeachment trial as a case of “oppression” against the SC Chief Justice. Most Filipinos see it as political will on the part of P-Noy to make GMA account for all her transgressions.

The last major factor that must be in place if a coup is to succeed or gain traction is the backing of the US. You’ve got to be an idiot — a person who cannot recognize the truth — not to know how much the US is supporting the P-Noy administration. In fact, the US support has been the Left’s main focus when attacking P-Noy.

Lack of credibility and valid issues are the biggest impediments to any coup plot at this time. To make matters worse for the tagged coup recruiters — generals associated with the GMA regime — are the exposes about their corruption during the Senate’s Blue Ribbon Committee investigations. The younger officers and soldiers have come to believe that their lack of benefits and support are rooted to this corruption.

Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must never unwatched go.”  

* * *

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

[Click here for the Archive]

Home | As I Wreck This Chair | High Ground | Career Brief and Roots | Advocacies | Landmarks Copyright 2006 The Chair Wrecker by William M. Esposo