President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday he has a record of conversations to prove a “loose conspiracy” to oust him, involving the opposition Liberal Party, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, and the communist rebels, and warned the Armed Forces of the Philippines against siding with them.
“We have the evidence and we have the conversation provided by a foreign country sympathetic to us,” said Duterte as he addressed the nation with his live dialogue with Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo Tuesday afternoon.
“We do not have that sophistication, but the connection will be shown maybe any day now,” said the President, emphasizing the groups were in contact with each other.
“I asked that it be declassified, and we will show it [to the public],” he said, adding it might be “loose conspiracy,” but emphasized that the three groups are simultaneously planning it.
“This is my message to the Armed Forces: Just be careful. Just be careful of your connivance with the Magdalo [group of Trillanes]. Because Magdalo is not all in agreement to destabilize or overthrow the government,” he said.
“I said my clear stand on the matter. If the Armed Forces think that I am not competent, that I am not qualified to be sitting here as President, I have discussed this matter with them in a command conference. You are on your own,” he said.
“If you want another President, fine. I will not allow you to fight your own soldiers... I would not allow my soldiers to kill another soldier or a policeman shooting another soldier. That’s crazy,” he added.
He then called on the soldiers, who believe Trillanes fights for their welfare, to join the opposition senator.
“To those who see that Trillanes made a difference for your well-being, go to them and stage a mutiny or revolution. You are free to do that. As a matter of fact, I am encouraging you, so we could end
this,” Duterte said. “I am challenging Magdalo to start now. If you think the soldiers are yours, it’s fine. If the generals [think of the same], so be it. Let’s show the Filipino people what you really want.”
Duterte then hit Trillanes for not doing anything for the benefit of the soldiers.
“You were a mess. You committed a ruckus in Makati. You went to jail, cursed all the people in the government. Now that you have been pardoned by President Aquino, and you were in government, what have you done? What have you done, even in little ways, that helped the soldiers?” asked the President, criticizing the senator for not showing up as the soldiers sacrificed their lives during the Marawi siege.
“Did I ever have the occasion to see you there? You were not there. Your group is only for sympathy. But you never really cared for the poor soldier,” the President said.
In his arrival speech on Saturday morning, Duterte said Trillanes, LP, and the Communist Party of the Philippines are “praying” for his ouster.
Duterte warned the public to closely watch the three groups as they have been plotting his ouster.
Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano on Tuesday denied that Magdalo is involved in any oust plot against the President.
“The Magdalo is performing its mandate as members of the opposition under the check and balance system of our democratic government. The essence of this is to strengthen democracy and not to destabilize it. Further, since the onset of the Duterte administration, the actions of Magdalo have shown respect of the Constitution and the legal processes it provides,” Alejano, a staunch Duterte critic and a former coup leader, said.
“We continue to trust our government institutions despite being abused right now by certain leaders in order to advance their own interests,” Alejano added.
He also dismissed the allegation that the Magdalo is behind the destabilization against the President and his administration, saying it was merely a product of the administration’s paranoia.
“This is only meant to divert the attention of the people from the present economic woes they themselves have failed to address. If there is someone destabilizing the present government, they should not look beyond themselves for they are ones destabilizing it,” Alejano said.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, said members of the AFP should maintain their allegiance to the Constitution and the people.
“More than who authored the bills, the members of the AFP can best show their appreciation by serving the country and the Filipino people,” said Lacson, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class 1971.
Besides, he said the passage of such laws benefiting the AFP is not just a matter of authoring bills, but also taking part in other stages, including holding committee hearings and sponsoring the measure.
Lacson cited the Revised AFP Modernization Act (Republic Act 10349), which stemmed not only from the efforts of Trillanes but of Senator Ralph Recto and himself.
Aside from authoring the bill that was consolidated into the measure, Lacson also delivered the sponsorship speech for the measure and defended it on the Senate floor.
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