DUTERTE BARES OUSTER PLOT

By Inquirer.net, USJR JOURNALISM INTERN DELTA DYRECKA LETIGIO |September 11,2018 - 11:30 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte stressing a point during his “tête-à-tête” with Chief Presidential Counsel Salvador Panelo at the Rizal Hall in Malacañang on Sept. 11, 2018.

The President claims of a “loose conspiracy” involving the CPP-NPA, Magdalo and political rivals who are plotting to oust him

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said he has evidence to prove that his political opponents, the communists, and the Magdalo group were conspiring to overthrow him.“Alam mo si Sison pati itong Magdalo, pati itong mga ayaw sa akin, ‘yung mga hindi tumanggap sa akin (You know Sison, and this Magdalo and also these people who don’t like me), they have combined and we have the evidence. I have the conversation provided by a foreign country sympathetic to us,” Duterte said in a televised interview with Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang Palace.

Duterte was referring to Jose Ma. Sison, founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP); the Magdalo, a group of former rebel soldiers who railed about anomalies in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP); and his political rivals.

The President said he has requested the documents to be declassified so it can be made public.

“We do not have that sophistication na — but meron and the connection will be shown maybe any day now,” Duterte said.

“I asked that it be declassified at ipakita nila sa lahat (and be shown to everybody). Nahihigop lahat eh (Everything is tapped). Alam nila ‘yan (They know it). Nahihigop lahat (Everything is tapped). So they were in constant communication,” he also said, referring to the evidence he has against his alleged destabilizers.

“It might be a loose conspiracy but they are into it. Sabay-sabay sila,” he added.

Warning military

In his one-on-one interview with his legal counsel, Mr. Duterte even dared the military to join Trillanes in his ouster plot if they no longer have confidence in him.

“Kung kayo may nakita na ginawa si Trillanes para sa inyo (If you saw something that Trillanes did for you), go to them. Stage a mutiny or revolution or whatever,” he said. “You are free to do that. As a matter of fact, I’m encouraging you, para tapos na.”

But Duterte warned the military conniving with the Magdalo group.

“Ang sinasabi ko lang sa sundalo ng republika (What I am just saying to soldiers of the republic), just be careful ‘yung pagsabwatan ninyo diyan sa Magdalo (about your connivance with Magdalo),” he said.

AFP intact in CV

In Cebu, the AFP Central Visayas Command (Centcom) assured that the region’s armed forces remained intact amid reports that the military is divided over the plight of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV after the President revoked his amnesty.

“Wala namang nakakarating nga destabilization report sa atin. Wala tayong problema sa loob ng AFP. (We have not received any destabilization reports. We don’t have any problems within the AFP.) The military remains united and strong,” said Colonel Medel Aguilar, spokesperson of Centcom.

Aguilar said the rumors were rooted on a report that the CPP and the New People’s Army were plotting to destabilize the government.

As for the military, Aguilar assured that the morale remained high, especially that they felt the support of the President through increased salaries and more benefits for the soldiers.

In a report from Inquirer, Trillanes said some members of the AFP expressed their support to him following the order of President Rodrigo Duterte for his arrest.

On August 30, the President revoked the amnesty granted to Trillanes in 2011 on the grounds that the amnesty was void from the beginning after Lt. Col. Thea Joan Andrade of the AFP’s Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel (J1) certified that the application for amnesty of Trillanes could not be found. The President then ordered the arrest of Trillanes and for him to be tried for the crimes that had been dismissed as a result of the amnesty granted to him.

The proclamation cited the absence of application as the basis for revoking the amnesty.

Since then, however, video footage and news reports showing that Trillanes did apply for amnesty have surfaced.

It also surfaced that there was a record that Trillanes was officially separated from military service, bolstering his position that he could no longer be tried in military court martial proceedings, which the President had wanted.

Yesterday, however, the absence of an amnesty application was no longer the reason by the President for voiding the amnesty granted to the senator.

The President maintained that the voiding of the amnesty was valid as it was not signed by President Benigno Aquino III.

Trillanes arrest still on

After Trillanes failed to get a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court on Tuesday, Malacañang said the government could now also freely implement President Duterte’s proclamation that revoked the presidential amnesty granted to the senator and ordered his arrest.

“There is no legal impediment now to implement Proclamation 572. He had his day in court and he failed,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing on Wednesday.

After being told by the AFP that he will still be arrested, Trillanes decided to continue staying in the Senate.

Trillanes said he was advised by some senators to stay in the Senate until they could get a categorical statement from the AFP on whether or not he would be arrested.

While the Philippine National Police and the Department of Interior and Local Government are saying that he will not be arrested without a warrant of arrest, Trillanes said the AFP claims that the arrest order against him still stands.

“Yung sinasabi ni (What was said by) Duterte, that’s a trap,” Trillanes said, referring to President Duterte’s statement that the government would wait for the court to issue a warrant of arrest on the senator.

The President’s assurance was cited by the Supreme Court on Tuesday when it junked Trillanes’ bid to stop the implementation of Duterte’s Proclamation 572 that voided his amnesty and ordered his arrest.

The senator has been holed up in the Senate since Duterte’s order to arrest him was announced earlier this month.

Asked who had informed him about the AFP’s claim he would still be arrested despite the SC’s decision, Trillanes said: “Based on direct engagements with them (AFP).”

“Kung ang sabi noong mga units na mag arresto ay arrestuhin ako, palagay ko maliwanag na yun. Ibig sabihin nun, hindi binababa yung order o walang planong ibaba (If these units say that they will arrest me, that is clear to me. What it means it that the order to hold the arrest pending the decision of the court was not cascaded or there was no plan at all to cascade it),” he added.

Red Alert

Meanwhile, Centcom has tagged most of Central Visayas as insurgent-free except for Negros Oriental, which the AFP assures is still safe despite the presence of insurgents.

Despite this pronouncement, the province of Cebu remains to be on red alert since the last visit of President Duterte in the province on August 30.

“Pag red alert, ginaka-cancel natin yung leaves and privileges at rine-require natin ang ating people to stay inside the camp in case of any emergency,” Aguilar said.

(If we are on red alert, we cancel the leaves and privileges of the soldiers and we require them to stay in the camp in case of emergency.)

Aguilar said that the red alert remains as a precautionary measure for the upcoming typhoon and is no way related to the recent bombings in the two business establishments of alleged drug-lord, Peter Lim.

He said the red alert was also unrelated to the rumors of destabilization.

Lumads

Aguilar likewise ensured that the Lumad Bakwits from Cotabato who are visiting in Cebu to protest on the attacks Lumad schools under the martial rule in Mindanao are not considered threats to the safety of Cebu.

“They are not a threat to the safety of Cebu but they are a threat to the minds of our youths,” said Aguilar.

At least 29 lumads including 27 students and 2 teachers are in Cebu moving through different schools talking about their cause.

Aguilar said that he feels sorry for the exploitation of these lumad people and that they are used for propaganda.

Jong Monzon, lead convener of the Confederation of Lumad Organization in Southern Mindanao said that Centcom was just scared that Cebuanos will learn the truth about military abuses in Mindanao.

“Nahadlok ang militar nga makita ug madungog sa mga cebuano ang kamatuoran sa Martial Law sa Mindanao. (The military is scared that the Cebuanos would see and hear the truth about the martial law in Mindanao.) If they are accusing us of telling lies, then by all means, prove us wrong,” said Monzon.

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