Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte revealed on September 11 an alleged plot to topple his government.
Vowing to prove that the destabilization plot against his administration is actually true, Duterte said that he has evidence that point to his political opponents, the communists, and the Magdalo Group of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV as the main plotters on the alleged ouster ploy.
During his one-on-one discussion with Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo in Malacanang, Duterte said that he has proof that those who continue to spurn him have connived to stir the destabilization plot against the government.
“You know, Sison, Magdalo and those who do not want me as President, they have combined and we have the evidence,” said Duterte in his televised interview. “I have the conversation provided by a foreign country sympathetic to us.”
Duterte was referring to Jose Ma. Sison, founding chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the Magdalo — a group of rebel soldiers who railed about anomalies in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) — and his political rivals.
The President stressed that he would show the evidence that he has to prove the connivance of political opponents, noting that he will request that the documents be declassified.
“I ask that it would be declassified and I will show it to everyone,” he said, referring to the evidence he has against his alleged destabilizers. “It might be a loose conspiracy but they are into it.”
Meanwhile, Trillanes failed to get a restraining order from the Supreme Court to prevent his arrest.
Malacañang said the government can now freely implement Duterte’s proclamation that revoked the presidential amnesty granted to the senator and ordered his arrest.
“There is no legal impediment now to implement Proclamation 572. He had his day in court and he failed,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing on September 12.
Roque, however, reiterated the position of the President, who had earlier said he would wait for the issuance of an arrest warrant from Regional Trial Court against Trillanes.
“There is no legal impediment but the President has previously decided that he will await the action of the Regional Trial Court but I do not want to preempt the President on whatever position he may have now. But that was the last position of the President,” Roque said.
Asked if the military would arrest Trillanes after the Supreme Court ruling, Roque said, “Hindi po ibig sabihin ‘yun pero kung gusto, pupwede. Pero hindi po sinasabi na gagawin na. Wala nang balakid kung gustong arestuhin si Senator Trillanes pero hindi po sinsabi na ‘yun na ang mangyayari.”
Trillanes was placed on September 3 under the custody of Senate President Vicente Sotto 3rd after his amnesty was revoked.
Trillanes and fellow members of the minority bloc, namely Senators Franklin Drilon, Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino and Risa Hontiveros, met with Sotto to seek his advice on how to deal with Trillanes’ impending arrest.
Trillanes received an amnesty under Duterte’s predecessor, President Benigno Aquino III, for his and Magdalo’s involvement in failed coup attempts against the administration of then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Several young military officers who were detained for joining failed coup attempts and uprisings against Arroyo were also granted amnesties, but only Trillanes’ has been voided so far.
Meanwhile, Vice President Leni Robredo said that instead of attacking the opposition, the Duterte administration should focus on addressing rising inflation.
Robredo said the 6.4 percent inflation rate for August, the highest in nine years, is a confirmation that the prices of basic commodities like rice continue to increase without effective government intervention.
“Expending political capital for divisive moves like revoking the validity of the amnesty provided to Senator (Antonio) Trillanes at a time when the quality of life of our people is at stake comes at the expense of addressing the issues that truly matter to the Filipino,” she said.
“Our previous call to this administration to do what needs to be done to ease the difficulties that ordinary Filipinos have to face has become even more urgent,” she added.