AFP warns soldiers: Coup plotters will be 'punished harshly'

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Over the past three years, President Rodrigo Duterte visited military camps all throughout the country and doubled the salaries of uniformed men. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 11) — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is policing its own ranks to ensure soldiers would not dare plot a coup d'état against President Rodrigo Duterte.

"If ever there are any AFP personnel contemplating to stage a coup ‘d etat, we warn them not to even make that losing proposition. We will never allow that," the AFP added.

It said the warning was being issued despite "the absence of validated reports of active military personnel planning to mount a government takeover."

The military leadership warned they will "prosecute vigorously and punish harshly" those who would stage a coup, or would commit any other violations to the Articles of War, the AFP Code of Ethics, and the AFP core values of honor, service, and patriotism.

The Armed Forces and Philippine National Police (PNP) earlier reiterated there is no brewing attempt within government forces to unseat Duterte through a coup.

Duterte himself brought up the matter again in a speech last week. He called on uniformed men, "Do not do it please during my term."

While the AFP and PNP clarified they are satisfied with their commander-in-chief, Malacañang on Wednesday said military officials may have told Duterte about the growing dissatisfaction amongst the troops, supposedly because of the country's problems, including corruption, drugs and terrorism.

Duterte has since renewed his call for charter change, saying the Constitution needs to be amended to avert any possible coup. It is not clear what changes in the charter are being proposed to specifically solve the problems supposedly raised by the military.

Filipinos have unseated at least two presidents. In 1986, a military coup supported by a "people power" revolt forced then strongman Ferdinand Marcos to flee to exile in Hawaii. In 2001, then President Joseph Estrada was forced to leave office amid massive protests following his aborted impeachment trial for plunder. The Philippine military has also staged a series of coup attempts during the term of President Corazon Aquino, who took over from Marcos.