Alejano brushes off destabilization talk

Gary Alejano
File screengrab shows Rep. Gary Alejano at a presser after his impeachment bid against President Rodrigo Duterte was shelved at the House of Representatives.

MANILA, Philippines – Magdalo partylist Representative Gary Alejano on Tuesday brushed off what he described as loose talk that critics of President Rodrigo Duterte are out to destabilize the Duterte administration.

But Alejano cautioned the President not to completely ignore the sentiments of the people, including the military.

The former Philippine Marines officer, who has in the past figured in an attempted mutiny, said protest activities and mass actions this week leading to the 32nd anniversary of the EDSA People Power revolt on February 25 are democratic expressions of the people, which should not be curtailed.

“February 25 is a yearly event and an opportunity for the people to express themselves on what’s happening in the country. Hindi naman pwedeng hinahanapan lagi ng dahilan; pag may activities, destabilization na or fake news na (It cannot be that every activity should be tagged as destabilization or fake news),” he said in a news conference.

“What does he want? To make it appear that there is no democracy? That he wants to be a dictator?,” he asked.

He added that the President’s defenders should stop insinuating that protest activities are linked to destabilization moves.

“I don’t agree with challenging the people to mount a coup d’etat. You don’t underestimate the people, time will come when they’ve had it up to here,” he said.

Asked about possible grumblings from the military, Alejano said: “That issue has been repeatedly raised, I can’t speak for them but the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines have opinions and sentiments, too. They’re disciplined, but they don’t operate in a vacuum.”

“They are not blind to the moves of China in encroaching on our territory and our soft response. But the point is, we should not wait until it gets so that they are compelled to speak out in public, because when they do, there’s no turning back,” he said. “It’s like a volcano that could blow its top.”