Former Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has denied involvement in an alleged destablization plot against his successor and now President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
Reports of supposed plans to undermine Marcos Jr. and his government have been swirling amid what is seen as a widening crack between the Marcos and Duterte families.
The Marcos and Duterte alliance led to the landslide victories of Marcos Jr. as president and Duterte’s daughter Sara as vice president in the 2022 national elections.
Duterte dismissed having a hand in the alleged destablization plot in a press conference in his hometown of Davao City on January 6, 2024.
“Sino namang g****** pulis o military ang makipag-meeting sa akin to destab,” Duterte said in a report by ABS-CBN. “Bakit ko hindi ginawan yan when I was at the height of my… naging presidente na ako. For what purpose? To place somebody else in place of Marcos? I’m comfortable with Marcos. Why should I replace him? And who am I to replace him at this time of my life?”
In the same report, Duterte said he has no plans of running again for a government position in the 2025 midterm elections.
“I am telling you the truth, wala na ako,” the former president said. “Maski ginusto ko man, pero hindi na kaya ng katawan ko. Why do I have to make some pretensions here.”
Meanwhile, military and police officials have belied a viral video, which claims that top security officials want Marcos Jr. to step down.
As the Philippine Daily Inquirer has reported, the video was produced by retired Army general Johnny Macanas Sr.
Macanas Sr. stated in the video that Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Lieutenant General Romeo Brawner and Philippine National Police Chief General Benjamin Acorda Jr. had withdrawn support for Marcos Jr.
The retired general also claimed that active and retired police and military officials were in talks with Marcos Jr., telling the President to step down from office.
On January 8, 2024, PNP chief Acorda Jr. filed a cyberlibel complaint against Macanas Sr. before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office.
At the January 8 flag raising ceremony at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Acorda Jr. said he was hurt that “there were some people who, for the sake of gaining popularity through their vlogs, would sow disinformation”.
“No less than my face and the face of the chief of staff [were] posted and went viral, saying the AFP and the PNP [were] withdrawing support or asking for the resignation of the President. It’s unforgivable,” Acorda Jr. said.
In a press briefing at Camp Crame on January 9, PNP spokesperson Colonel Jean Fajardo assured the public that the 228,000-strong PNP was “100-percent” behind the government.
Armed Forces spokesperson Colonel Medel Aguilar also dismissed reports of a destablization plot brewing inside the military.
“Wala pong ganiyan sa AFP (There is no discussion for a destabilization plot in the AFP),” Aguilar told Dobol B TV.
Marcos Jr. won a six-year term in the 2022 election, and his time in office ends in 2028.
Vice President Sara Duterte is seen as a likely candidate for president after the term of Marcos Jr.
Sara Duterte has recently been the subject of controversy because of her use of confidential government funds.
In December 2023, government regulators suspended the television program of known Rodrigo Duterte supporter Apollo Quiboloy.
A report on November 5, 2023 by BusinessWorld quoted Arjan P. Aguirre, a political science instructor at the Ateneo de Manila University, saying that destabilization rumors show that the military establishment is “still a political actor in Philippine politics”.
Aguirre noted that talks of plots against government demonstrate that the military still has the capacity to “operate as a political bloc capable of influencing policies and decisions”.
“These rumors may also be influenced by the ongoing tensions within the coalition,” Aguirre said, referring to the Marcos-Duterte alliance.
“Some sectors may be already realigning themselves, with the expectation that anytime the infighting might worsen in the coming months,” Aguirre said in the BusinessWorld report.
It can be recalled that Marcos Jr.’s father was ousted from power in 1986 in a military revolt that was coupled by popular support.
Similarly, a withdrawal of military and police support led to the overthrow of then President Joseph Estrada in 2001.
By Carlito Pablo