MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte downplayed alleged plots to oust him, saying such moves will only succeed with the help of the military.
Military officials claimed over the weekend that a coalition spearheaded by communist rebels is ironing a "Red October" plot to oust Duterte next month.
But the President seemed unfazed by the supposed plot. He said he is willing to let go of his post if the state’s troops no longer find him capable of leading the country.
“Itong ‘plot plot plot’ na ito, ganito lang ang masasabi ko, nothing will succeed without the help of the Armed Forces,” Duterte told reporters in Jolo, Sulu on Monday.
“If the Armed Forces and the police think na ‘di ako bagay na maging presidente, sabihan mo na ako. Walang away away. Kung sabihin nila na dapat palitan ako, larga ako.”
(If the Armed Forces and the police think that I’m no longer suitable to be president, they should just tell me. No more fights. If they want me replaced, I will leave.)
Duterte said this even as he highlighted his efforts to upgrade the capabilities of the Philippine military, one of the weakest in Asia but has played key roles in the toppling of two leaders in the last three decades.
“Sa panahon ko nag-buying spree talaga ako. Wala kayong hiningi na hindi ko ibinigay,” he said.
“Nagawa ko lahat ng nagawa ko para maproteksyunan niyo ang sarili niyo.”
(During my time, I went on a buying spree. You did not ask for something that I was not able to provide. I did everything to help you protect yourselves.)
Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade, AFP deputy chief of staff for operations, claimed the opposition coalition Tindig Pilipinas backed out of the ouster plot after realizing that communists were behind the move.
Parlade alleged that communist leaders Rey Casambre and Satur Ocampo are allegedly leading the coalition.
The Liberal Party, whose leaders are part of Tindig Pilipinas, earlier denied any hand in alleged ouster plots against Duterte. Magdalo's Senator Trillanes and Rep. Gary Alejano have made the same denial.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said efforts to oust the President will not succeed as the President continues to enjoy the mandate of the people, as reflected in the latest survey showing majority support for his war on drugs.
The Communist Party of the Philippines, for its part, said the accusation is a "fictional plot which clearly aims to set the stage for applying increasingly draconian measures against the Filipino people."