Malacañang and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday downplayed supposed efforts to oust President Rodrigo Duterte, saying such move by a group claiming to represent the military and the police was “politically motivated.”
In a news conference, Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella dismissed the allegations against the President made by the group calling itself the “Patriotic and Democratic Movement” (Padem).
“We based our statement on the AFP’s assessment and it says it is a politically motivated group and that we should be wary of their statements,” Abella told reporters.
A statement from Padem called for the ouster of Duterte “for betraying public trust” as well as violating the “national sovereignty and democratic rights of the people.”
Padem is accusing Duterte of treating the AFP and Philippine National Police as his private armies and for playing favorites, bungling anti-terrorist operations in Marawi City, allowing Chinese vessels to occupy some parts of West Philippine Sea, condoning top illegal drug lords supposedly including his son Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, and inciting police officers to engage in extrajudicial killings of poor illegal drug users.
Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr., spokesman for the AFP, said the military was supportive of Duterte, its commander in chief, but reiterated its “apolitical stance.”
“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,” Padilla said in a statement.
“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 said the AFP would not hesitate in “acting against forces who shall undermine the stability and security of our country and those who wish to destabilize our nation through unconstitutional means.”