Press Release
January 21, 2008


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Nene" Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today dared defense and security authorities to identify, arrest and prosecute alleged conspirators of a new destabilization and coup plot put to rest the speculation that this is just a fabricated tale.

Pimentel decried that the top brass of the Armed Forces claimed that new power grab attempt is serious, but could not back such allegation with solid proof.

"If the destabilization plot is real, they should pinpoint the personalities behind it and apprehend them," he said.

Pimentel said it is patently irresponsible on the part of these defense and security officials to blabber about an alleged plot to overthrow the government without any factual basis. "For if this is just a product of propaganda spinmasters, you could imagine the damage it has inflicted on the country in the eyes of the international community, specially in terms of scaring away investors and tourists," he said.

Noting that Malacañang, military and security authorities could not even agree on what groups were involved in the alleged coup plot, the minority leader said some of them pointed to the Magdalo group of rebel soldiers while others said it was Communist Party-New People's Army.

Pimentel also expressed dismay that an alleged intelligence report made public by Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez equated the march and demonstration of farmers to commemorate the Jan. 22, 1987 massacre of 13 peasants on Mendiola bridge with being part of a rebellion plot against the Arroyo government.

The government, he said, is over-panicking since the farmers, coming from various parts of the country, are merely exercising their right to peacefully assemble and seek redress of grievances in the face of unresolved land conflicts, extra-judicial killings of militant farmer-leaders and other acts of injustice.

Pimentel said the fact that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is pushing ahead with her trip to Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates from Jan. 22 to 28 implies that even Malacañang does not believe that she is in danger of being toppled through a coup.

"Some generals are the ones trying to create an atmosphere of instability to keep the President hostage. Simply stated, they want to keep the President under their control."

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