By Froi Garces
THE Philippine National Police on Monday dismissed reports of destabilization plot against the government following the heightened security alert imposed over the weekend.
“As far as destabilization, I don’t think there is one,” PNP chief General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. told a press briefing.
Azurin said talks of unrest in the military cropped up on Saturday after the police were purportedly directed to be on high alert to monitor any troop movement. The speculation was personnel of the defense department have resigned en masse.
He said the police force were on full alert because of the ceremony for the change in command in the military.
“It’s very normal (high alert), if there is a change of turnover of command in AFP or PNP. We expect edthe commander-in-chief will be the one officiating or presiding the event, so it’s very normal that we are on alert,” he said.
On Saturday, General Andres Centino reclaimed the top military post replacing erstwhile AFP chief of staff Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro during simple turnover rites in Camp Aguinaldo.
Conspicuously absent, though, were President Marcos, who was supposed to preside the ceremony, and then Defense acting Secretary Jose Faustino Jr., a classmate of Centino in the military academy.
This fueled rumors that personnel of the defense department have resigned, coinciding with a purported PNP memorandum which directs the police to monitor possible troop movement across the country.
But Azurin denied such directive, claiming the heightened alert status was part of security measures the PNP had prepared for several religious festivals.
“We are on alert because of the Translacion, Sinulog, and another event in Region 6 (Ati-Atihan festival) and that’s the reason we maintained status in alert,” he said.
Azurin, however, revealed that he had discussion with Centino over the alleged unrest in the military.
“I also talked with General Centino last night and he gave assurance that PNP and AFP will work hand on hand in ensuring that the Marcos administration will be very stable,” he said.
At the same time, Azurin said he has ordered a probe against those involved in the circulation of the fake memo.