Duterte remark on ‘restive’ AFP warns of possible coup – Palace
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte believes the military might stage a coup d’etat if the problems plaguing the Philippines would persist, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
A day before, the President renewed his call on lawmakers to rewrite the Constitution, warning that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) had already become restive over widespread corruption in government.
“Ang premise noon, under the Constitution the AFP is the protector of the people. So kung ang military alam nila na maraming kalokohan, maraming korapsyon — gaya nga ng sinasabi ni Presidente, iyong sa Manila Water, iyong mga kontrata, masyadong onerous. Alam na ng military iyon. So nagre-react sila doon: Bakit ganyan,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
[The premise here is that under the Constitution the AFP is the protector of the people. So if the military knows that there has been so much mischief, so much corruption — as the President was saying, there’s the Manila Water contract that is so onerous. The military knows that. So it will react: Why is it like that?]
“In other words, I think it’s a fair warning to all na baka pag nagalit iyan. Biglang mag-coup iyang mga iyan. Kaya ang sabi niya nga: ‘Kung magku-coup, huwag na kayong magdala ng mga tangke ha. Kausapin n’yo na lang ako. Magkape tayo rito,’” he added.
[In other words, I think it’s a fair warning to all that they might angry. They might stage a coup. That’s why the President said: “If you are staging a coup, don’t bring your tanks. Just talk to me. We’ll have coffee.]
The Palace official said the President could have received information about a possible coup plot.
“Could be dahil, otherwise, hindi sila nagsasalita ng ganoon eh. Meron siguro siyang info, very reliable,” he said.
[It could be because, otherwise, he will not speak the way he did. Maybe he had some very reliable info.]
The President, he said, had several options he could take if the country’s problems would continue.
“He can impose martial law. He can declare a revolutionary government. He can use other emergency powers,” Panelo said.
“The Constitution is, as I said before, a living instrument, it’s dynamic. I don’t think the framers of the Constitution has chained the head of the state from performing his duty which is to serve and to protect the people by placing provisions there in derogation of that obligation,” he added. “Kaya marami siyang puwedeng gawin eh.”
[That’s why he has many things he could choose to do.]
No coup will prosper
In another statement, Panelo said no ouster plot against Duterte would prosper.
“Any coup attempt against President Duterte will certainly fail,” he said. “It will not get the support of a critical mass of people who remain overwhelmingly supportive of PRRD [President Rodrigo Roa Duterte] and his administration.”
Panelo was reacting to a statement made by exiled communist leader Jose Maria Sison saying that the United States could stage a coup d’etat against the President.
READ: US coup vs Duterte? Palace says it’s Sison’s ‘wishful thinking’
“Mr. Sison’s comment that the US could stage a coup against the Chief Executive is wishful thinking,” Panelo said. “It is an admission that his revolution has failed as he needs to call on the US to help his group to effect a leadership change in the government.”
“Mr. Sison’s remarks only prove one thing: He remains clueless to the political realities of the country he has been away for so long, thereby becoming out of touch of what is happening on the ground,” Panelo added. “He has to wake up from a half a century of sleep and wake up to the reality that his revolution not only has become passé but buried in the graveyard of history.”
He urged Sison and his comrades “to join [President Duterte] in his quest for peace and security for the Filipino people, as well as economic prosperity for all.”
(Editor: Alexander T. Magno)
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