Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Sunday denounced an alleged Viber group of retired and active military officers who allegedly withdrew their support for President Rodrigo Duterte.
“We denounce the irresponsible propaganda being propagated in online posts alleging that a group of retired and active military officers are withdrawing their support for the President,” Lorenzana said in a statement.
“This is fake news! I am not, and will never be, a part of any such group. Neither are the officials at the Department of National Defense, many of whom are also retired military officers.”
Lorenzana said “such disinformation is an act of reckless agitation emanating from detractors who have a limited and myopic appreciation of issues.”
He called on the “destabilizers” to cease from propagating malicious statements “at a time when our people should all be coming together in the face of the challenges that we are all currently facing.”
“You are not helping our country and people at all,” Lorenaza said.
Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Cirilito Sobejana also dismissed the existence of the group.
In a separate statement, Sobejana said that even if such a group existed, he “disavows the presence or association of officers and enlisted personnel to a group of such mindset.”
He said the claims came after another message that alleged that warplanes from various countries were taking off and landing in Clark Airbase made the rounds of social media.
“We have issued a statement dismissing that SMS as fake news. No such landings or takeoffs of aircraft from other countries are taking place. The AFP is on normal alert as opposed to the claim of that spurious sender,” he said.
“It is obvious that the motive of these malicious posts is to create panic and confusion. We advise the public to remain calm and dismiss them as more disinformation.”
While urging that the AFP be spared from “partisan politics,” Sobejana said, the nation was saddled with many challenges that the AFP needed to face. They could do without the distractions of people, groups and associations that were advancing their agenda.
“We assure our people that your soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines are firmly behind the chain-of-command,” he said.