AFP affirms support for Duterte amid ouster calls
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) affirmed on Tuesday its support for the Constitutionally mandated government of President Rodrigo Duterte amid calls by a shadowy group, claiming to be soldiers and policemen, for his ouster.
AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla likewise questioned the authenticity of the group calling itself the Patriotic and Democratic Movement (Padem) whose members claim to represent “the men and women of the AFP and the PNP (Philippine National Police).”
In a statement, Padilla said “the entire AFP along with all the men and women of the uniformed services and all our civilian personnel stand by the Constitutionally mandated government and unequivocally supports the Commander in Chief.”
He described as “unfounded and uncalled for” the issues raised by the Padem in its Aug. 21 statement, which called for the ouster of Mr. Duterte for alleged betrayal of public trust.
Among the issues Padem cited include Mr. Duterte’s alleged treatment of the police and military establishments as his private armies and the corruption of the PNP and AFP through a monetary award system for every suspected narcotics user and communist rebel killed.
Other issues cited by Padem include Mr. Duterte’s alleged condonation and protection of drug lords and their coddlers; the pardon and promotion of policemen engaged in extrajudicial killings; allowing China to occupy maritime features in the West Philippine Sea; bungling operations in Marawi City; and allegedly favoring certain Chinese traders, Duterte relatives and cronies in awards for infrastructure projects funded by loans from China.
In its statement signed by an Antonio Bonifacio, the group called on all Filipinos to join protests to demand the ouster of Mr. Duterte. Padem also vowed to work for the withdrawal of police and military support from the Duterte administration.
But Padilla pointed out that the issues raised by Padem were being aptly addressed by the concerned government agencies and appealed to the public and various political groups to “respect the apolitical stance of the AFP and help bring unity and healing instead of fomenting divisiveness and collapse.”
Padilla said the AFP would not hesitate to act against forces who shall undermine the stability and security of the country and those who wish to destabilize the nation through unconstitutional means.