The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday vehemently denied allegations hurled by Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria “Joma” Sison that the military is plotting to assassinate him and overthrow President Rodrigo Duterte’s government.
Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr, AFP spokesman, branded Sison’s accusations as “propaganda line” from the left-leaning group of CPP and its political wing, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), that was previously engaged in peace talks with the Philippine government.
“Not true at all. This is once again a propaganda line of the Left to gain sympathy and toe the anti-US line that they usually take,” Padilla told reporters.
The military spokesman is responding to a statement of the NDFP, saying it received reports from “several sources” in the AFP that military officers allegedly conniving with the US Central Intelligence Agency are supposedly planning to kill Sison and overthrow the Duterte administration.
The statement was shared by Sison in his social media account and told reporters through Facebook message that he believes the remarks made by the NDFP.
“I take precautions. That is how much I believe in it. The sources are reliable and have been reporting for some weeks already,” Sison said in a social media interview.
“Best antidote by the NDFP to the plot is to expose it. Of course, I believe in the statement,” he added.
From the NDFP’s statement also issued on Tuesday, it said the “first stage of the military plot” is to send a team to The Netherlands to “assassinate” the communist leader with orders supposedly approved by Duterte and AFP chief Gen. Eduardo Año.
For the second stage, the NDFP pointed out, the AFP will “overthrow” Duterte for allegedly collaborating with the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army.
The NDFP’s statement originated from what the President had said that “he is in danger of being ousted by a coup and that he is therefore trying to avert this by appointing more military officers in his Cabinet and other high civilian officers.”
The word war between the two sides erupted since the peace talks between the Philippine government and the NDFP were scrapped by Duterte himself over attacks launched against soldiers in the countryside.
Año earlier said it was Sison who perpetrated the Plaza Miranda bombing in the 1970s, which killed two persons and wounded Liberal Party candidates for local and national elections at the time.
Padilla reiterated Año’s statement that it was the communist leader who plotted the bombing.
“You must remember who planned the Plaza Miranda bombing, who? It was Joma!” the military spokesman said.
Despite the cancellation of the peace talks, however, the NDFP urged Duterte to release all political prisoners and “engage seriously” in the peace negotiations.