GROUPS plotting against President Rodrigo Duterte are busy recruiting officials in government to join a planned mass resignation as part of a bigger scheme to destabilize the administration, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano claimed on Sunday.
Cayeteno said the plan was in preparation for a major protest action of anti-Duterte forces for the President’s ouster during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July.
The key Duterte ally said government officials, particularly those in holdover capacities, were being convinced by anti-Duterte groups to join the mass resignation move to stage a scenario of withdrawal of support for the President.
Cayetano, however, did not disclose his sources of information.
He said officials who are set to retire and those who are about to be fired are also being targeted by the groups.
“We have monitored the political movement, these groups are talking to government officials not to vacate their respective posts yet and join the planned mass resignation to create an impression that there’s a massive withdrawal of support to the administration,” said Cayetano in an interview aired over radio station dzBB.
The senator said the original plan of the opposition was to come out big against Duterte during the celebration of the 31st anniversary of the 1986 EDSA “People Power” revolt, but this did not materialize.
The next target date is in July, in time for Duterte’s second SONA, he said.
Liberal Party (LP) Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th said he did not hear of moves to unseat the President.
If ever there was such plan against the administration, the LP will not have any involvement, he stressed.
Inventory of the ‘dissatisfied’
Cayetano said the groups that wanted Duterte ousted were conducting an inventory of
government executives dissatisfied with the President, and those on the President’s “narco-list.”
“We are used to these schemes. They want to create a scenario hoping that the public will join their move to oust the President,” he said.
Anti-Duterte forces want public outrage similar to that triggered by the walkout of election officials during the 1986 snap election between former President Ferdinand Marcos and Corazon Aquino, which eventually led to the ouster of the Marcoses, he claimed.
“We are not new to destabilization schemes. I’m not saying that the events in the past are not legitimate, but people who want Duterte out are trying to replicate these scenarios in a bid to get people’s support and we are keeping an eye on them,” Cayetano said.
The recent public “confession” of former police officer Arturo Lascañas may also be part of efforts to destabilize the administration, the senator said.
Cayetano said the surfacing of Lascañas and Edgar Matobato, who both claimed to be part of the so-called “Davao Death Squad” (DDS), only raised questions.
They could have surfaced, he said, during the time of Sen. Leila de Lima as secretary of the Department of Justice when she had the power to prosecute Duterte, then mayor of Davao City.
“But they decided to come out when Duterte is now the President because they were suddenly bothered by their conscience. For me we have to put into perspective their motives,” he said.
Lascañas is scheduled to testify today before the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs on the existence of the DDS and the murders it allegedly committed in Davao City on orders of Duterte.
In a 12-page sworn affidavit, the former police officer, who claimed to head the DDS, said Duterte ordered a number of killings including the massacre of an entire family and the murder of a radio commentator, as well as the bombing of mosques in Davao City in retaliation for a bomb attack.