Opposition politicians in league with retired generals in the Philippines are using soldiers' discontent over their boots to enlist the military in a possible new coup attempt against the Arroyo government. Gripes about the poor quality of army boots were partly to blame when more than 1,000 enlisted men and officers took to the streets of Manila in an unsuccessful attempt to unseat President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last July. An investigation into what became known as the Oakwood incident led to military procurement being taken out of the hands of the armed forces and placed with the civilian Department of Budget and Management. But that has not stopped allegations that corruption was at work when a fresh tender for boots was put out this year. The Philippine firm Jodaar Cottage Industries cried foul last week after submitting the lowest bid of 993.50 pesos (HK$138.3) per pair to provide 97,257 pairs. It lost out to another local company, Filboot Manufacturing, which bid the highest at 1,047 pesos per pair in a contract worth more than 100 million pesos. University of the Philippines political scientist Carolina Hernandez said the fresh allegations of foul play were aiding politicians seeking to use the military in a coup. The Philippine embassy in Washington even issued a press release quoting Dr Hernandez, now a presidential adviser, as 'admitting that there are outside forces capitalising on the controversial issue of procurement of combat boots to recruit military personnel and destabilise the government'. Recruiting of soldiers has been stepped up, so much so that former president Fidel Ramos, an Arroyo ally, publicly appealed to retired generals to stop plotting.