By Raïssa Robles
In this piece, which I submitted to South China Morning Post, I tried to gauge how military officers feel about their Commander-in-Chief Rodrigo Duterte’s repeated appeal to them to form a military junta and succeed him.
But these are extraordinary times.
I was ready to be rebuffed.
However, at least one active duty senior military officer shared his thoughts with me. Here is my piece which includes what he told me.
IF DUTERTE IS TOO ILL TO LEAD THE PHILIPPINES, WHO IS NEXT IN LINE FOR POWER?
Duterte has undermined his constitutional successor, Vice-President Leni Robredo, and appears to have given tacit approval instead to the idea of a junta forming to replace him
BY RAISSA ROBLES
9 OCT 2018
President Rodrigo Duterte last week disclosed for the first time he may be seriously ill, sparking intense speculation over who would take over leadership of the Philippines should he be unable to continue. And while the official word from the administration indicates the president is clear of cancer, the looming question of succession has seen five groups step up their efforts to vie for power.
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A senior military officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there was “simply no basis” for any military officer to take power. He added: “I don’t see any [instance] even in the history of our country when we even got close to that.”
He said some civilians had asked officers to “do something” if they did not support Duterte: “I tell them – that’s like opening Pandora’s box. We had a hard time closing Pandora’s box. Why should we again open it?”
The officer added that the armed forces had been on a “long road to professionalism” since coup attempts were staged from 1986 to 1989, and again in 2001, 2003, and 2007.
When asked who might be in a position to form a military junta, he said only a very senior ranking officer such as the armed forces chief of staff could pull it off. But he noted the incumbent, General Carlito Galvez Jnr, would retire in December.