MANILA - Former President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday denied claims of the military leadership that communist rebels are working with the political opposition to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.
Aquino emphasized that the Communist Party of the Philippines-News People's Army (CPP-NPA) has weakened since the time of his mother, former President Cory Aquino.
“Mula doon sa kahinaang iyon, ngayon, kaya nilang mag-oust? Ang galing naman nilang mag-recover,” he said.
Aquino said that another reason which makes it impossible for him to coalesce with New People's Army (NPA) rebels is their involvement in various issues involving Hacienda Luisita.
“Kakampihan ko sila? Parang sinabi ko sa mga kababayan ko na iiwan ko silang lahat,” Aquino said.
Given these, Aquino challenged military officials to prove their allegations.
“Ang burden of proof nasa kanila,” he said.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Assistant Deputy Chief for Operations Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade said a "broad" coalition of communist rebels and Duterte's critics are conspiring to remove the chief executive from office in October.
The coalition, he told ANC, also includes supporters of ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and the group Tindig Pilipinas, whose members also include Liberal Party leaders.
"They'll continue their plans 'til next month. They have this October or 'Red October' [plan]," he said Parlade.
But in a statement out on Tuesday, the CPP said the accusation is a "fictional plot which clearly aims to set the stage for applying increasingly draconian measures against the Filipino people."