In the Philippines, Coup Rumors Are Just Rumors

The days of political agitation by the military are long gone.

Phillip Orchard |September 12, 2018

On Sept. 11, in an interview that’s bizarre and provocative even by his standards, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte challenged dissident soldiers to try to mount a rebellion. The firebrand president said he had evidence that a sitting senator and some communist rebels were plotting to assassinate him and seize power on Sept. 21, the anniversary of the declaration of martial law by deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos. This capped two weeks of high political drama that began when Duterte ordered the military and police to arrest the senator in question, Antonio Trillanes IV, a vocal Duterte critic who has regularly badgered the president about corruption allegations and accused him of being soft on China.

To be fair, Trillanes has a history of usurpation. As a junior naval officer, he helped lead a pair of failed uprisings in the mid-2000s. Former President Benigno Aquino granted Trillanes amnesty as part of a plea deal in 2011, but Duterte unilaterally revoked the deal on Aug. 31

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