This is how detained Brigadier General Danilo “Danny” Lim described former Philippine Army Chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. and former Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief Generoso Senga concerning their supposed backing out from the February 2006 military uprising against President Macapagal-Arroyo; a plan, which Lim claimed, Esperon initially agreed to take part in.
In a statement, Lim said Esperon’s recent statement on this matter is enough evidence.
Esperon’s virtual admission
“The mere fact that he did not deny that he was part of the meetings and even admitted in giving suggestions, establishes the truth about his role, something which he cleansed himself off by being a turncoat, by cowardly siding with Mrs. Arroyo and her illegitimate government instead of heeding the people’s demand for change.”
It was reported that Esperon admitted to talking to Lim and other restive soldiers. He also admitted that he proposed that Lim’s group needed five days for the hatching of the plot. However, Esperon said he only did this to squeeze information and to “taunt” Lim.
“By this statement alone, Esperon is virtually admitting that he was part of the plot, but decided to bail out by packaging himself as Arroyo’s loyal spy when the situation became unfavorable. That is not information-gathering, that is out and out opportunism; abandoning what is left of principles in order to advance one’s political power and influence,” Lim said.
“Come and arrest me”
Lim also contered Esperon’s statement that he asked the ex army chief to take him under his custody to “save face.”
“Like his puppet master Gloria, Esperon is lying to his teeth. Yes, we did have a phone conversation. But I did not asked to be taken under his custody. What I said was, ‘you want me? Come and arrest me yourself’. Of course, that is something he did not do. True to form, he let others do his dirty work,” Lim asserted.
Senga initially agreed
It was reported that then Senga took custody of the general. Senga was also implicated by Lim in the February 2006 event. Lim claimed that Senga had a meeting with him and initially agreed to “withdraw support” from the President.
However, like Esperon, Lim said the former AFP chief allegedly also backed out of the plan. Lim claimed Esperon and Senga ditched them in exchange for political enticements from Malacanang. Senga is now ambassador to Iran.
Esperon, Senga, military’s shame
Lim said he was regretful that they included Esperon and Senga in what the WestPoint graduate described as a supposed non-violent military and people uprising to rid of Mrs. Arroyo from power.
“I would like to apologize to the Filipino people that we have military leaders like Esperon and Senga who rather than defend the people they swore to protect have instead pursued their own selfish interests. They are a shame to the uniformed service. What they thwarted was not a coup d’état, but the popular uprising of the Filipino people,” Lim asserted.
No coup but a non-violent and popular military/people uprising
The rebel general also claimed the February 2006 event was not a coup d’état but a popular political action backed up by the people.
“A coup is the sudden overthrow of a government by a small group within the existing state apparatus. What happened in 2006 was entirely different. The military was there, but so are the people. The dissent was so massive that Mrs. Arroyo needed to impose a state of emergency and bludgeoned thousands of protestors to maintain control,” Lim explained.
During the height of the February 2006 event, a mammoth rally estimated at 40,000 and led by Laban ng Masa near Camp Crame was brutally dispersed by the Philippine National Police. Among those arrested was University of the Philippines Professor Randy David.
“The enemy is an illegitimate power propelled by cheating and tyranny. To dislodge an anti-people leader is not a coup. It is a democratic and popular uprising, an inherent right and responsibility of all freedom-loving citizens,” Lim added.
Inveterate mutineers vs. Inveterate Oppressors
Lim who is also running as a senator under the Liberal Party rebuked Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Gary Olivar who called him an “inveterate coup plotter.”
“Olivar can call me whatever he wants to, a chronic mutineer or insurgent if he likes. But the truth is, rebellion and dissent have been in the agenda of our national politics for the longest time because the government and our leaders like the one he is devotedly serving are inveterate oppressors themselves,” Lim said.
Lim said he was sad that Olivar seemed to have forgotten an important political truth. “The fight for freedom, democracy and justice doesn’t end with the fall of the Marcos dictatorship. However, some activists like Olivar think so and have since become rabid defenders of a consent-challenged establishment. I hope he will have a change of heart.”
Lim also shot back at Olivar’s statement saying his “adventurism” led him also to rebel against the late President Corazon Aquino whose son he is now supporting for president.
“My politics and convictions are not personality-based. Senator Aquino knows this and I think he shares this perspective. This is also the reason why I am under his ticket,” Lim said.
Lim said injustices are injustices whether the left or the right commits them or by governments, whether they are popular or illegitimate. “I have no regrets for what I did. I paid the price and will necessarily continue to do so in order to extract justice and give our people the democracy they deserve.”
On Olivar’s challenge that he brings his charges to the proper forum and to back them with evidence, Lim said his last arbiter is the Filipino people.
“Bring it to the proper channels they say. But I have seen how they manipulated and destroyed these so-called channels, how they made a mockery of our democratic institutions. My final arbiter is the Filipino people. Let them be the judge,” Lim concluded.