MANILA - Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday claimed that political enemies of President Rodrigo Duterte are cooking up a “massive destabilization” plot in time for the 46th anniversary of the martial law under the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Roque made this claim after Duterte said his critics were moving to oust him, which he said will "go into a high gear" in October.
“Ang pagkakaalam ko rin po ay talagang nagkakasa sila ng isang malawakang destab ‘no para po dito sa anibersaryo ng Martial Law ng Setyembre. Kaya nga po ang sabi ng Presidente, it would be in high gear pagdating ng Oktubre ‘no,” Roque said in a Radyo Singko interview.
(From what I gathered, some groups are really cooking up a massive destabilization plot in time for the martial law anniversary this September. That’s why the President said it would be in high gear come October.)
Roque, nonetheless, believes such a plot would not succeed given Duterte’s mandate from the people.
The opposition Liberal Party has rejected Duterte's claim that it was plotting to remove him from office with the help of communist rebels and Trillanes.
"The accusation of destabilization is downright false. It is ridiculous. Dissent is not destabilization," Senator Francis Pangilinan, president of the LP, said in a statement.
"Every time scandals and controversies hound this administration, whether it be corruption issues or issues of incompetent governance, it blames the opposition."
The opposition, he said, does not have to do anything because the government "is doing a good job of destabilizing itself" through its supposed incompetence or corruption.
Pangilinan said the government should focus on rising prices of goods and lack of jobs instead of lobbing "baseless" accusations against critics.
Several lawmakers allied with the President, he noted, have called for the firing of agriculture officials and economic managers amid a rice shortage in some areas and the acceleration of inflation to its highest level in a decade.
Trillanes, for his part, said Duterte's claim of a plot to remove him from office was a product of paranoia.
University of the Philippines professor Ranjit Rye, meanwhile, believes destabilization plots against President Rodrigo Duterte are old news and that the administration should instead focus on easing the effects of inflation.
He also said, given Duterte's popularity, any attempt to oust him now would likely fail.
"It's not also unlikely to have a destabilization initiative now because the context is ripe, for one. But as to its success, I'm highly skeptical about it," Rye told ANC on Sunday.
"The focus should be for the President and the administration, the focus should be on resolving our problems, the problems of the people now. Inflation has gotten so high and there has to be ways to mitigate the effects of high prices," he also said.