Manila: The opposition alleged on Monday that the Arroyo administration propagandists could be behind talk of unrest in the armed forces in their attempt to divert attention from corruption allegations against the government.

Opposition Senator Francis Escudero said the government is trying to create the impression that it is under threat from various quarters, including the security services, so as to justify the steps it plans to quash mounting criticism over corruption.

"It's the oldest trick in the book. If you are being criticised, create a diversion. Invent tales so that from an aggressor you become the aggrieved party and people will start casting their sympathies at you," Escudero said.

On Saturday, the "Sundalo Tagapagtanggol ng Pilipino" (Soldier Defenders of the Filipino) a shadowy group which clams to have come from the ranks of disgruntled junior military officers, posted a manifesto on a website criticising corruption in the government of President Gloria Arroyo.

"We, Junior Officers of the Army, Air Force, Marines, National Police, Navy Fleet, are painfully aware that the supposed Constitutional foundations of this administration are grounded on illegitimacy, abuse and impunity... We are aware that this administration has not only grabbed power in 2004 but has been abusing that stolen power for its own benefit," a "Statement of Awareness and Action" from the group said.

The statement did not carry any list of signatories but pictures of former marines commandant Major General Renato Miranda and Brigadier General Danilo Lim of the army were posted in the website giving the impression that they are among those who issued the statement.

These generals have been detained after having been implicated in past power grab bids against the Arroyo administration. "Is this group as real as Santa Claus? Is this the latest to come out of the Palace disinformation factory?" he said.