Opposition leaders are denying President Rodrigo Duterte’s most recent accusations of an ouster plotted by the camp of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and allies in the Liberal Party and Communist Party of the Philippines.
Duterte said during his one-on-one interview with Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Tuesday that he had evidence of an ouster being plotted by Trillanes and the Magdalo Party-list, the Liberal Party, and communist elements led by Jose Maria Sison and its armed wing the New People’s Army.
“It might be loose conspiracy but they are into it,” said Duterte during the hour and a half-long interview.
He added that he will ask to have the evidence, which he claims was documented by a foreign government, be “declassified” soon.
The president also challenged members of the military who agreed with Trillanes’ criticism of the administration to revolt against him.
“If Trillanes did something for you, go to them and stage a mutiny or revolution. You are free to do that. As a matter of fact, I’m encouraging you,” Duterte said.
The administration has floated the topic of an ouster plot led by various opposition factions in the days following Duterte’s nullification of Trillanes’ amnesty, the leader of the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny.
Defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana previously confirmed receiving word of a destabilization plot coming from the CPP-NPA. He clarified that the involvement of Trillanes’ and the Liberal Party had not yet been verified.
The opposition’s leaders have reacted to the accusations.
Trillanes refuted the president’s claims saying that his group remained critical of the communist faction even when peace talks between the left and Duterte’s administration were still ongoing.
Vice-president Leni Robredo, who also chairs the LP, denied that they had ties with the communist faction.
“We know the role of the Communist Party of the Philippines here. In our society, they exist independently of any political party. They have several beliefs that are not similar with us,” she said during a radio interview with RMN-DZXL 558.
LP president Kiko Pangilinan accused Duterte of diverting the public’s attention as the country faces a food shortage and inflation hike problem.
For everyone’s sake, instead of throwing baseless accusations at LP and the opposition, the government should listen to the cry of the people and focus on rising prices of goods and lack of jobs that would sufficiently provide for the average Filipino family.
— Kiko Pangilinan (@kikopangilinan) September 9, 2018
Sison, the communist leader exiled in The Netherlands, meanwhile denied collaborating with Trillanes and said that Duterte was “lying and bluffing” when he brought up the alleged evidence.
Some have pointed to Trillanes’ criticism of the left to show how an alliance with them would be unlikely.
If there’s one thing Trillanes is and I know a lot of left-leaning mutuals will agree on is that he is and always will be for the military. https://t.co/53frPOCQDK
— Austin/ (@AJplus_size) September 11, 2018
In July 2017, Trillanes urged Duterte to fire government officials that had communist ties after peace talks between the government and the leftist party fell apart.
Previous ouster claims
Duterte over the years has claimed knowledge of various plots to unseat him.
He had previously accused the LP and the CPP-NPA of conspiring to remove him from power in October 2017.
Duterte in the past has also spoken of the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency of planning to remove him from power, but US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim denied the claims.