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Trillanes says ex-AFP general spreading ‘fake news’ on coup attempt

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Thursday said a certain “General Kakilala” has been spreading fake news about a “popular politician” recruiting graduates of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class 2006 to launch a coup d’etat against President Rodrigo Duterte.

Trillanes raised this during the Senate finance committee hearing on the proposed 2018 budget of the Department of National Defense (DND) and its attached agencies, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“Ito si General Kakilala, meron siyang ini-spread na meron daw isang popular politican na nagre-recruit ng isang class 2006 para sa isang coup against Duterte,” Trillanes said.

“I did not feel alluded to, not only wala naman akong nire-recruit but I’m also not popular,” the senator, a former Navy officer and graduate of PMA Class 1995, added. 

No destab move monitored

AFP chief General Eduardo Año said they have not received any information about coup attempts against the President.

“So far, we have not monitored any recruitment activity in the organization. We have not received any cause for dissatisfaction…We have not monitored any destabilization move of any politician or any personality,” Año said.

Trillanes, a staunch critic of Duterte who was involved in at least two military uprisings during his stint in the AFP, said Kakilala used “fake news” as his basis.

In an interview after the hearing, Trillanes told reporters that exchanges between Kakilala and other PMAers in a forum identify him as the politician supposedly recruiting members of Class 2006.

“Talagang ako yung tinuturo…Walang recruitment, hindi ako nagre-recruit. Hindi kami lumalapit diyan sa mga kampo even for myself,” Trillanes said.

Who is "General Kakilala?"

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he knows Kakilala but he only heard of Trillanes' allegation when the senator raised it during the hearing.

Lorenzana said Kakilala has already retired from service. “Hindi ko alam yung pangalan eh,” he said. Lorenzana’s staff later on identifed Kakilala as Brigadier General Joselito Kakilala, who retired last year.

Trillanes’ staff then provided reporters a screen capture of Kakilala’s Facebook post, which read: “Gago itong politician na ito ah. Pinaghirapan ng Armed Forces and AFP Transformation Roadmap para ma-highly professionalize ang corps. Huwag na kayo maniwala yan, bok, maraming sundalo nag sakripisyo including their families dahil na discharged sila for participating in various coups.”

A link from The Asian Policy was also included in the post. The said article states that a politican was recruiting graduates of PMA Class 2006.

Quoting a “respected journalist,” the article said there was information from a “really reliable source” that a “popular politician was trying to convince a certain Captain Popoy of PMA Class 2006 to execute a coup d’etat plan agaisnt President Duterte.”

Trillanes is a member of the Magdalo group that staged unsuccessful coup attempts against the Arroyo administration; one was the Oakwood mutiny in 2003, and the other was the Manila Peninsula siege in 2007.

Deleted post

In a text message to GMA News Online, Kakilala said he already deleted his post after being told that the article could be fake news.

“I just commented in the post, but it is farthest in my mind that I speak against a revered senator…[When I was] told that it could be fake news, I pulled out my comment,” Kakilala said.

Kakilala said he was just speaking his mind as the former head of the AFP Office of Strategic Studies and Strategy Management that oversees the AFP Transformation Roadmap.

“It aims to transform the institution as a highly professionalize corps and ensure its capability development is realized,” he said. —KBK, GMA News