Govt dismisses oust Duterte moves, says they’re ‘politically motivated’

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THE government dismissed alleged moves to oust President Rodrigo Duterte by a group calling itself the Patriotic and Democratic Movement (Padem).

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In a press conference on Tuesday, Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said these moves by Padem, which claims to have members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), were “politically motivated”.

In a separate statement, the military, through Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr., spokesman, vowed that the AFP would support Duterte, its commander-in-chief, and reiterated its “apolitical stance.”

A statement purportedly being circulated by Padem is calling for the ouster of Duterte “for betraying public trust, in violation of public trust, and in violation of national sovereignty and democratic rights of the people.”

It is accusing Duterte of:

* allegedly treating the AFP and Philippine National Police (PNP) as his private armies and was playing favorites;

* bungling operations in Marawi City;

* allowing Chinese vessels to occupy some parts of West Philippine Sea;

* condoning top illegal drug lords, including his son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte;

* inciting police officers to engage in extrajudicial killings, among others.

“We based our statement on the AFP’s assessment and it says it is politically-motivated group and that we should be wary of their statements,” Abella told reporters.

“Such issues are clearly politically motivated and a matter that the AFP does not and will not subscribe to,” Abella said.

He added that the AFP  would not hesitate “acting against forces who shall undermine the stability and security of our country and those who wish to destabilize our nation thru unconstitutional means.”

“The AFP appeals to the public and the various political groups to respect its apolitical stance and help bring unity and healing instead of fomenting divisiveness and collapse,” Abella said.

Meanwhile, 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.”

“The accusations and issues cited by the group are unfounded and uncalled for. Such issues are clearly politically motivated and a matter that the AFP does not and will not subscribe to,” he added.

Padilla, however, also said that the military was committed to protect the people by standing by the citizens in the Philippines.

“Having affirmed this, the AFP however, will not hesitate in acting against forces who shall undermine the stability and security of our country and those who wish to destabilize our nation thru unconstitutional means,” he said. CATHERINE VALENTE, DEMPSEY REYES

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