MALACAÑANG on Friday belittled the 2/22 Coalition that is calling for the ouster of President Benigno Aquino 3rd, saying the group lacks the support of both the public and the Armed Forces.
In a news briefing, its deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said criticisms emanating from the newly formed coalition “are not new,” and that the President has heard them before.
“The groups that have been making statements [critical of Aquino], their positions are not new. Some of them [made]similar calls years ago, and as I mentioned earlier, nothing happened,” Valte told reporters.
“Perhaps, at this juncture, only the people can tell if they will back these groups. There is no indication, at least at this point, that they are being supported by the majority,” she said.
At the same time, Valte belied news reports about a supposed exit plan being prepared for the President to vacate the seat of power.
She said this scenario is pure fiction.
“The President will step down on June 30, 2016. I can tell you that. Any report or stories of any other exit plan apart from that are fictitious,” Valte pointed out.
Reports about a supposed exit plan for the President flew thick as rumors of a putsch continue to swirl amid preparations for massive protest rallies to pressure Aquino to relinquish his post.
A source said on Thursday that a Palace insider showed a draft copy of an alleged exit plan to leaders of groups calling for Aquino’s resignation.
“In the midst of our conversation, she showed us the documents supposedly containing the exit plan,” the source said. “She showed us the copy of the alleged draft exit plan. We played this down since we did not know her intentions in showing us the document,” the source added.
The plan was hatched, according to the source, because the Palace is already feeling the heat.
But Valte denied this, explaining that they have no intention to abandon their duty, especially the President.
“The administration and the President [are]no stranger to issues, the national issues that confront us, and we hope that in due time questions will be answered as well. We hope to move on and to properly find a resolution to all of these [issues],” she said.
And until the majority of the people throw their support behind such quit calls, Valte added, “We’ll deal with it when it comes, but so far, the President continues to do his work.”
Even the military and police organizations, she said, have made their positions against extra-constitutional means to grab power, and as such, no coup will prosper.
The Palace official also downplayed anti-government sentiments at present as only part of the democratic space.
“So they are free to make statements, to issue calls for whatever action. Obviously, we disagree with their statements and their calls to action, but it’s part of the democratic free space that we have,” she noted.
Valte said they strongly doubt if the renewed calls for the President’s ouster could muster support and succeed.
“The President is no stranger to calls for resignation. In the course of more or less five years that he has been in office, we have seen these sporadic calls from different groups, and they always have not resulted in a situation that would please them, or, at least, it has not been, it has not resulted favorably for them.”