THERE are no moves to oust President Rodrigo Duterte coinciding with the 31st anniversary of the Edsa “People Power” revolt this week, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said on Wednesday, refuting an earlier statement by Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.
“If ever there are, leave it to us. We’ll monitor it. We will be on top of the situation,” Esperon said.
On Monday, Andanar claimed there was a “grand scheme” to unseat the President, beginning with a mass action on Saturday.
Andanar on Tuesday maintained he had received intelligence reports about a brewing plot against the President, which he said may not have reached top defense and security officials yet.
Andanar said on Monday the statement of retired policeman Arturo Lascañas confirming the existence of the
“Davao Death Squad” allegedly formed by Duterte was “part of a protracted political drama aimed [at destroying]the President and [toppling]his administration.”
Andanar made public the supposed ouster plot in September last year. Esperon shrugged it off.
The Palace communications chief said he should not be pitted against Esperon, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and other security officials.
Senator Leila de Lima, one of the President’s staunchest critics, earlier called on the public to “lend their voices” in expressing dismay over the extrajudicial killings of drug suspects under the Duterte administration.
Esperon scoffed at de Lima’s call to stand up against Duterte as a rallying point for the opposition to move against the President.
“Let us see. Drug trading? You will use that? Filipinos should have a greater ambition than drug trading. Narcotics? You will use that to serve as your defense?” Esperon said.
“Even if we belong to different sectors, there must be a convergence point for the good of the nation. Why should a case of an individual be the convergence point? It should be nation-building. Maybe they are up to something.
People power? To what? To defend one case? I don’t think Filipinos are not that shallow,” he added.
Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he saw no harm in de Lima’s call to action during the EDSA anniversary celebration.
“If it’s inciting to rise up in arms versus the government, then that should be of concern. But if it’s just a call to gather together, express their sentiments, that’s actually freedom of expression and assembly,” Guevara said.