MANILA - Will President Rodrigo Duterte cite an alleged plot to remove him from office to declare martial law over the whole country?
The Communist Party of the Philippines asked this Tuesday as it denied heading an alleged coalition that supposedly wants to overthrow the Duterte government.
Military officials over the weekend claimed that the CPP is ironing out a "Red October" plot to oust Duterte, adding the communist movement is urging workers' unions to stage simultaneous strikes that would paralyze the manufacturing sector.
The CPP, however, said the accusation is a "fictional plot which clearly aims to set the stage for applying increasingly draconian measures against the Filipino people."
The supposed Red October conspiracy, it added, "sounds very similar" to claims of a Maoist rebellion in 1972, which then President Ferdinand Marcos used as justification for declaring martial rule.
"Actually, the real question is not whether there is such a conspiracy, but what Duterte and the AFP are plotting for October? Is this a foreshadowing of a declaration of martial law by October?" the CPP asked.
"In hyping up this so-called conspiracy, the clear aim of the AFP is to justify the implementation of increasingly severe measures in the name of 'defeating the plot' to target legitimate protest actions which express the sentiments of a disgruntled people. The so-called plot is a Duterte straw man for him to beat and make himself look strong and invincible," it added.
The CPP also alleged that the military's proposal to set up a task force against rebels will target student activists who are among the most active in the anti-Duterte movement.
Duterte "has only himself to blame" for the destabilization of his administration because of his supposed inaction over price increases and alleged right abuses, the group said.
Opposition figures like Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV have also denied their hand in any alleged scheme to end Duterte's administration.
Duterte earlier declared martial law over the whole Mindanao until the end of the year, following an attack of Islamic State sympathizers in the southern city of Marawi in 2017.
Back in June, he said he was not amenable to placing the entire country under martial law as it will lead to a “divided nation.”