MANILA - Exiled communist leader Joma Sison on Saturday claimed the United States could influence Philippine military and police to arrest President Rodrigo Duterte "as a traitor."
Sison issued the statement after Duterte dared Washington to fire the "first shot" against Beijing in the disputed South China Sea.
The President slammed the US for supposedly egging him to provoke China over the maritime territorial dispute.
Sison, however, said there was "no need" for the US to fire a shot.
"Without firing a single shot, the US can easily instruct its following within the military and police forces under Duterte to take him into custody as a traitor and to install vice president Robredo as the constitutional successor," Sison said in a statement.
Sison claimed the US refrains from ousting Duterte because it is still trying to use him against communist rebels and to pave the way for charter change, which he said would "allow 100 percent foreign ownership" of businesses engaged in the "exploitation of land and natural resources."
Duterte had earlier alleged the US Central Intelligence Agency wants to oust him.
Sison, meantime, also alleged that Duterte has been "heavily bribed" by China.
Ties between Sison and Duterte soured last year after the President accused communist rebels of continuing their attacks against government troops despite the ongoing peace talks.
In November, Duterte issued Proclamation No. 360 formally ending the government’s peace talks with the communists. A month later, he signed Executive Order No. 70, ordering the creation of a national task force to “end local communist armed conflict.”