By Daniel Llanto i FilAm Star Correspondent
Contrary to claims that the threesome opposition Liberal Party, Magdalo group of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and local communists are plotting to oust President Duterte, Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana confirmed that there is such a plot but only from the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
There is a plot to oust President Duterte, Lorenzana said, but it is being initiated by the CPP-NPA based on intelligence reports of the Department of National Defense (DND) that looked into the matter after Duterte brought it up. He said the CPP-NPA started the plot in 2016 and finalized it in 2017.
“If other groups are conniving with this ouster move, we do not know,” Lorenzana said.
The DND chief admitted receiving information that there are also “disgruntled” active military officers who are working on a destabilization plot. However, he said they are not seeing any evidence of this.
“It’s because they have an Oust Duterte movement that they disseminate within their personnel,” Lorenzana said of the CPP-NPA in a televised interview.
Duterte earlier claimed that the three groups are plotting to oust him. Vice-president Leni Robredo and the opposition Liberal Party subsequently denied these accusations saying they are not working nor in alliance with the group of Sen. Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV and the CPP-NPA to overthrow the current administration.
Citing information from foreign sources, Duterte disclosed the alleged ouster plot against his government by the CPP-NPA, the “Dilawans” (Liberal Party) and the group of Trillanes that is supposed to be implemented next month.
Lorenzana likewise described as plain rumor all the talks going around that soldiers are now divided over Presidential Proclamation 572 that saw the revocation of the Aquino government amnesty granted to Trillanes. His statement is meant to belie reports that disgruntled active personnel are now throwing their support behind Trillanes.
Asked about the current morale of military officials, Lorenzana said they have high morale. “Their salary just increased, doubled so their morale is high,” he said, adding that the government forces are not involved in any destabilization plot.
Lorenzana said military officials are encouraged to reject calls for any plan to topple the Duterte government.
“Within the (military) organization there is (no ouster plot of disgruntled soldiers),” Lorenzana said, adding that soldiers are in high morale because they are now enjoying good benefits, unlike before.
The rumors on a destabilization plot was revived by Duterte days after he signed the proclamation declaring void the amnesty granted to Trillanes in 2011. Trillanes was previously involved in coup attempts against the Arroyo administration.
The alleged involvement of the “yellows” or pro-Aquino groups and the camp of opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV has not been verified, Lorenzana said.
Because of these rumors, Lorenzana said the defense department is continuously monitoring the security situation since some groups might capitalize on the current situation just to advance their personal and political agenda.
For several days now, Trillanes’ amnesty revocation by Duterte has triggered pro- and anti-government debates, with some resorting to name-calling in their social media posts.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief Gen. Carlito Galvez issued a warning to soldiers the other day not to engage in partisan political activities. Lorenzana said Galvez issued this reminder for the soldiers to ignore those who might be out to politicize their ranks.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director Gen. Oscar Albayalde said the police are still verifying the information that certain groups are planning to oust President Duterte by next month.
Albayalde said the President has unlimited sources of information and the PNP is just one of them. The information, which directly came from the Chief Executive, should be taken seriously, he said.
“We are looking into all these information. These are all serious allegations. Hindi namin pwedeng palampasin itong mga information na ito. Right now we are in the process of confirming and validating this information that we got. Hindi lang yan, we take all the information that we get seriously,” said Albayalde.