SPEAKER Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo yesterday said President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that there is destabilization plot to topple his government is credible.
In an interview, Arroyo said President Duterte is “working from good information” on the threat to his presidency.
The House leader said she had the same experience when she was the country’s president for nine years.
“You know let me just say, again going from my experience as President, the President usually has access to information that not all of us have access to, so if the President believes that there is a threat, he is working from good information,” Arroyo said.
“So we should believe whatever he says,” she added.
Arroyo refused to comment on the resurrection of Sen. Antonio Trillanes’ case to which stemmed from several coup attempts during her presidency.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) had disclosed the destabilization plot dubbed “Red October,” supposedly a conspiracy between the communist rebels and critics of the administration.
Communist leaders Rey Casambre and Satur Ocampo are leading the coalition, according to AFP Assistant Deputy Chief for Operations Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade said.
For his part, President Duterte has claimed that some soldiers are in cahoots with the opposition, particularly the Liberal Party, in a plot to overthrow his administration.
Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano vehemently denied the allegations that they collaborating with the communists.
“Dissent, as part of freedom of expression, is guaranteed in our Constitution regardless of ideology and political affiliation. When one expresses dissent it does not automatically make him a communist. Republic Act 1700 has been repealed precisely to allow our disgruntled citizens to express and act on their grievances legally away from the armed struggle. We expect the defense establishment to widen their analysis regarding this matter,” Alejano said.
Opposition senators yesterday branded the administration’s ouster plot “Red October” as a mere “fantasy tale” or fiction while insisting that the President was being fed with “false intelligence information”.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon pointed to the popular novel of famous author Tom Clancy, “The Hunt for Red October,” as the source of the purported ouster plot against President Duterte.
The bestseller was even made into a movie which depicts the rebellion of a popular Russian submarine captain who eventually defects to the United States.
“This is an old familiar tune and it sounds like a broken record. This opposition-communist ‘Red October’ destabilization plot is a discredited fantasy tale taken from a Tom Clancy thriller and being peddled by those who wish to undermine our democracy to justify the declaration of a so-called revolutionary government,” Drilon said.
Liberal Party president and Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said that whoever is feeding the President “false and manufactured intelligence reports” must be fired.
“They should be giving him accurate information that he needs to know rather than dubious information that they think he would like to hear. Billions are spent on intelligence funds for fabricated information,” Pangilinan said in a statement.
Both senator strongly denied LP’s involvement in such a plot, noting that they adhere to the rule of law and the supremacy of the 1987 Constitution.
“We are loyal to our democratic system where government leaders are chosen directly by the people through peaceful, orderly and honest elections,” added Drilon.
Meanwhile, both Senators Panfilo Lacson and Francis “Chiz” Escudero, doubt that the reported destabilization plot would pose a serious threat to the President.
“That should not worry the President at all because he has the overwhelming support of the vast majority of the country’s armed services,” Lacson pointed out.
Escudero while saying that the destabilization plot is “unlikely” and “highly doubtful”, he also pointed out that “nothing is impossible, in the realm of possibilities.”
“I have no access to information that the President may have but, from where I am coming from, I believe it is highly doubtful and unlikely to the extent that it will pose a serious threat to the administration of PRRD,” Escudero said.
With Marlon Purificacion