MILITARY EXERCISE MEANT TO INTIMIDATE OPPOSITION – BINAY

UNO PRESS RELEASE
JULY 5 2009
REF: JOEY SALGADO

MILITARY EXERCISE MEANT TO INTIMIDATE OPPOSITION – BINAY

Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay today said the military exercise last Saturday at Camp Aguinaldo was intended to intimidate the opposition as it prepares protest actions in the next few days leading to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27.

“The military leadership and Malacanang say there is no threat to the administration. So there was no need to roll out the tanks and show off soldiers in combat gear,” he said.

“The overkill was intentional. It was intended as a message to the opposition,” he said.

The opposition leader had said the recent bombing at the Ombudsman and the discovery of bombs in other places were meant to justify the deployment of more police and soldiers to Metro Manila prior to the SONA.

“The recent action by the military confirms our suspicion, but the protests will continue,” he said.

The opposition, civil society and people’s organizations are planning a series of protest activities that will culminate in a rally on July 27 during Mrs. Arroyo’s SONA.

Binay appealed to the police and military leadership to respect the rights of the protesters.

“We have always policed our ranks, but in several cases we have accosted police and military operatives in plainclothes mingling with the crowd,” he said.

He added that in previous rallies, the police would set up checkpoints to prevent or delay the arrival of rally participants from the provinces. This constitutes a violation of civil right, he said.

“We have always acted responsibly, and we do hope the police and military will do the same. The right of the people to assemble should be respected,” he said.

Binay also said the military leadership’s statement dismissing Oplan August Moon as an attempt to sow intrigue in the AFP was “expected.”

“How can they conduct a credible investigation on a plot that allegedly involves generals known to be loyal to Mrs. Arroyo? “ he said.

Binay said based on published reports, August Moon s not a destabilization plot or a coup plot against the administration.

“It is reportedly a plan by these generals to take over the military and police leadership before the end of the year, thus solidifying Mrs. Arroyo’s hold on the military and police during the 2010 election period,” he said.

The report gives credence to information that a ranking police general is already boasting that he will be the next chief of the Philippine National Police before the year ends even when current PNP Chief Gen. Jesus Versoza has until next year to finish his term.

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