MANILA - A "broad" coalition of communist rebels and President Rodrigo Duterte's critics are conspiring to remove him from office in October, officials of the military warned over the weekend.
Communist leaders Rey Casambre and Satur Ocampo are allegedly leading the coalition, said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Assistant Deputy Chief for Operations Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade.
The coalition, he told ANC, also includes supporters of ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and the group Tindig Pilipinas, whose members incidentally include Liberal Party leaders.
"They'll continue their plans 'til next month. They have this October or 'Red October' [plan]," he said Parlade.
October marks international celebrations for communism, Marxism and indigenous peoples, he noted.
ATTACK VS FIRMS
The coalition against Duterte is engaged in an "aklasan" in which they infiltrate labor groups to urge workers to simultaneously go on strike, said military Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvez Jr. in the same interview.
"It's a nationwide attempt to close our manufacturing, the industries," added Parlade.
He cited as an alleged example the case of Nutri-Asia in Marilao, Bulacan, where union members have allegedly been infiltrated by left-leaning militants and have padlocked their factory for over 50 days.
"Now, they are attempting to do this aklasan in Monde-Nissin, PLDT and Jollibee," he said.
The coalition behind the aklasan allegedly gets its funds from "everywhere, even from these organizations abroad," said Parlade.
Authorities, he said, are exposing the aklasan plot to businesses "so they will be able to strategize and lessen the number of people who [are] going to strike."
The AFP has asked Duterte to form a national task force against communist insurgency, said Parlade.
Parlade and Galvez' accusation comes in the same month that Duterte accused Senator Antonio Trillanes, the LP and communist leaders of joining forces to engineer his ouster -- which they denied.
Casambre, peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, also doused the allegation.
"Absolutely, there is no basis or no truth to that allegation because I am in no position at all to be behind such a large, grand endeavor," he said.