MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte’s dare for the military to stage a mutiny and support his critic Senator Antonio Trillanes IV was an expression of confidence of the Commander-in-Chief in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque had this take of the President's statements Tuesday, saying Duterte trusts that the military won't support ouster efforts against him.
“Ibig sabihin kampante ang pangulo na wala namang suporta na manggagaling sa hanay ng militar para patalsikin siya sa pwesto,” Roque said in a press briefing.
(It just means that the President is confident that there will be no support coming from the military to remove him from his post.)
“Ang kaniyang seeming incitement is actually also an expression of confidence na walang susunod kay Senator Trillanes.”
(His seeming incitement is actually also an expression of confidence that no one will follow Senator Trillanes.)
Duterte on Tuesday dared the military to stage a coup and oust him if they no longer find him effective as a leader, echoing what he has been repeatedly saying in previous speeches.
“If you want another President, fine,” Duterte said.
Duterte’s tirades to the military prompted his critics to suspect that the chief executive has started feeling “insecure” about the AFP's loyalty to him.
In his interview Tuesday, the President also listed down his contributions to the military and stressed that Trillanes, a former Navy officer, had done nothing.
His remarks came a week since his proclamation voiding Trillanes' amnesty for uprisings in 2003 and 2007 was made public. Since then, Trillanes has been holed up in his office at the Senate as he faced arrest. The senator is fighting the order in court.
For Alejano, Duterte’s statements bared his insecurity when he talked about Trillanes instead of ways to curb inflation.
The former Marine added that the President's support for the military should not be aimed at nurturing personal loyalty.
"It should not result [in] personal loyalty of the AFP to anybody else, even to the President, because we want AFP to be neutral. Apolitical. We want the AFP to uphold and defend the Constitution and [be] loyal to the Constitution," he said.
"Pero kung nagmamaktol ang Pangulo at sinusumbatan ang AFP... in fact, hinahamon pang magkudeta. Pangit 'yun sa Pangulo dahil inuudyukan na mag-resort to extra-constitutional action."
(But if the President is harboring ill feelings and is giving reproof to the AFP... in fact he is even challenging them to stage a coup d'etat... That's not good for a President because he is urging [soldiers] to undertake extra-constitutional action.)
In voiding Trillanes' amnesty, Duterte ordered the military and the police to "employ all lawful means to apprehend" the senator. He later clarified that he would let the courts decide whether or not to order Trillanes' arrest and if his proclamation was valid.