'LeniLeaks' row shows campaign plans, not ouster plot: analyst

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 10 2017 12:02 PM | Updated as of Jan 10 2017 12:49 PM

Is the "LeniLeaks" controversy proof that there is an ouster plot against President Duterte? One political observer believes the LeniLeaks controversy only shows the campaign and counter campaign of the Duterte administration and the opposition.

Speaking to ANC, political analyst Ramon Casiple, the executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, said he is not convinced what has been revealed is an "ouster plot."

"If what I read in the website that had been shown on Facebook, these are basically the usual campaign planning that every political group is doing," he said in an interview with Mornings@ANC.

"The military aspect, for example, is not there. That would be, what I suppose would be part of an ouster plot," he added.

What was manifested in the purported documents, he said, is "the loss of modus vivendi between the opposition and the administration," where both sides are conducting their campaign and counter campaign against each other.

"This is part of democracy," said Casiple.

Social media was abuzz over the weekend over the LeniLeaks controversy, which allegedly shows a public Yahoo! groups message thread where supporters of Vice President Leni Robredo and aides supposedly talking about plans of unseating Duterte.

Robredo has denied being part of any group seeking Duterte's ouster, saying she last spoke with philanthropist Loida Nicolas-Lewis during the campaign period for the 2016 elections.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Malacañang is open to filing charges against those allegedly involved in the 'LeniLeaks' controversy, pending the results of the investigation of National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon and Information and Communication Technology Secretary Rodolfo Salalima.

"The people who are written here, and if we find out that they are really part of this scheme, we will go after you. If you are in the America, enjoying the cold winter nights of the United States in New York City or wherever you are, just make sure that when you come home to the Philippines that you are ready to face the music," he said.

"If it has to arrive at that point [of filing charges] and if it’s the recommendation of Secretary Jun Esperon and Secretary Salalima, then we will. Why not?" he added.

Andanar said that while freedom of expression is enshrined in the Constitution, several points in the alleged leaked conversation reveal a "sinister plan to really remove the president from office."

"You can say that we can go out and protest on a certain policy, and just tell the president or the congressmen, the senators that what you’re doing is wrong, you might want to change your mind on certain policy," he said.

"But if you write something like ‘this could be legal grounds to remove him from office’, then you already have that thinking in mind that you want to oust a President. What else?" he said.

He also criticized the opposition for failing to grant the Duterte administration a "honeymoon period."

"Customarily, we give six months of honeymoon period to the President. Now, you did not give our President six months of honeymoon. You did not respect that tacit agreement," he said.