DILG confirms intel on plan to disrupt Bongbong Marcos inauguration
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has confirmed intelligence reports about alleged plans to disrupt the inauguration of President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., assuring however that the police are ready to respond to such threats.
DILG spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said in a statement that communist groups and their alleged front organizations plan to “embarrass” Marcos Jr. on his inauguration day, June 30.
Malaya said the DILG and attached agencies like the Philippine National Police (PNP) are taking the reports seriously.
“We are taking these intelligence reports seriously and we will do what is necessary to thwart any attempt to embarrass or discredit the forthcoming inauguration,” Malaya said.
According to the DILG official, security measures have been stepped up at the National Museum grounds along Padre Burgos Avenue in Manila, where Marcos Jr. is expected to take his oath of office.
At least 6,200 PNP personnel, not including other uniformed services, would be deployed to monitor key areas near the National Museum.
But such plans from communist rebels, Malaya noted, are no longer a surprise as he claimed that these groups are really out to overthrow the government.
“That’s part of their playbook. Whoever sits in Malacañang is their enemy because ultimately, all they want is to overthrow the government through violent means to be followed by a socialist revolution,” Malaya said.
Malaya was referring to claims made by alleged former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) that rebels have been meeting with farmers in Hacienda Tinang.
Hacienda Tinang is the controversial Tarlac farmland that was dragged into controversy after agrarian reform beneficiaries and their allies were arrested for supposedly uprooting existing plantations.
During a press briefing organized by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) on Monday, two individuals who claim that they are former rebels said the communists have started organizing farmers in nearby farmlands too.
But aside from the former rebels’ assertions, the DILG also took note of former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile’s claim that “groups in America and in the Philippines” are planning to embarrass the President-elect.
Enrile, former Defense Minister of the President-elect’s father, former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, has been tapped to be the next administration’s chief legal counsel.
There have been concerns with protesters attempting to interrupt the inauguration of Marcos, leading the PNP leadership to remind the public that protests without permits would only be allowed in freedom parks.
While activist groups have contested the PNP’s stand using Batas Pambansa Blg. 880 which allows for peaceful assembly, acting police chief Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. has been adamant that only rallies in support of Marcos would be allowed near the inauguration site.
PNP director for operations Maj. Gen. Valeriano de Leon also clarified that they are not against free speech, as they are only wary of the plans supposedly being cooked by leftist groups.
Malaya echoed PNP’s stand that rallies critical of the incoming administration would be allowed in freedom parks.
“We respect the people’s rights to free expression, peaceably assemble, and the exercise of their democratic rights but this has to be done within the bounds of the law,” Malaya said.
“Therefore, we advise all protesters to hold their peaceful demonstrations in Manila’s designated freedom parks such as Plaza Miranda, Plaza Dilao, Plaza Moriones, and Liwasang Bonifacio. There are so many to choose from,” he added.
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