‘Fake news’: DND, AFP denounce claims of their withdrawal of support for Duterte
MANILA, Philippines — Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana denied the existence of an alleged Viber group of retired and active military officials withdrawing their support for President Rodrigo Duterte, dismissing it as “irresponsible propaganda.”
“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,” said Lorenzana in a statement.
“Such disinformation is an act of reckless agitation emanating from detractors, who have a limited and myopic appreciation of issues,” he added.
Lorenzana called on the “destabilizers” to stop 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,” he said.
Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Gen. Cirilito Sobejano also denied the existence of the said group, adding that if such a group will ever be made, he “disavows the presence or association of officers and enlisted personnel to a group of such mindset.”
According to Sobejano, the claims came after another message made rounds in social media about warplanes from various countries taking off and landing in Clark Airbase.
“We have issued [a] statement dismissing that SMS as fake news,” said Sobejano.
“No such landings or taking off of aircraft from other countries are taking place. The AFP is on normal alert as opposed to the claim of that spurious sender,” he added.
Sobejano advised the public to remain calm and dismiss the messages as disinformation.
Sobejano then appealed to spare AFP from “partisan politics,” so that they can focus on their mission and continue performing constitutional mandates.
“The nation is already saddled with numerous challenges that the AFP must face than be distracted by people, groups, and associations advancing their own agenda,” Sobejano said.
“We assure our people that your soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines are firmly behind the chain-of-command,” he added.
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