MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday said the plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte, as alleged by the military, has no basis.
“Baseless allegations that link my involvement in legitimate opposition activities with illegal actions, particularly when they come from high ranking military officials, undermine not just the opposition but also our democracy. They politicize the AFP, subvert Constitutional protections, and weaken a crucial mechanism for ensuring public accountability,” Robredo said in a statement.
The vice-president also said the statement of the military is supposed to discredit the opposition.
“For while the claims themselves are absolutely ridiculous, the attempt to delegitimize various opposition groups and personalities by linking them to an alleged extra-constitutional “plot” is alarming,” she said.
Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Assistant Deputy Chief for Operations, earlier warned that a "broad" coalition of communist rebels and President Rodrigo Duterte's critics are conspiring to remove him from office in October.
Communist leaders Rey Casambre and Satur Ocampo are allegedly leading the coalition, he claimed in an ANC interview over the weekend.
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.
October marks international celebrations for communism, Marxism and indigenous peoples, he noted.
Military spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo, however, said Magdalo and Tindig Pilipinas backed out of the alleged coalition conspiring to remove President Duterte from office.
"Maging ang grupong Magdalo na kasama po doon sa Tindig Pilipinas, nagpahayag din po ng kanilang, ika nga, pagkilala sa ating institusyon at kasama po sila sa sinasabi nating grupo na nag-withdraw ng kanilang pagsali dito sa gagawin sanang pagra-rally nitong September 21 at ito nga pong Oplan Talsik," he told radio DZMM.
"Kanila pong binanggit sa ating chief-of-staff, Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr., na sila po ay sumusuporta sa demokratikong pamahalaan at kailanman ay hindi sila sasama sa mga grupong ang layon ay patalsikin ang kasalukuyang pamahalaan at palitan ng sistemang komunista," he added.
(They told our chief of staff, Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr., that they support the democratic government and they will never join groups aiming to overthrow the present government and replace it with a communist system.)
The Vice President, meanwhile, said the military's statement is reminiscent of the martial law years under former President Ferdinand Marcos.
“We must recall that branding critics as criminals was the same draconian tactic employed by the Martial Law Regime to strip the opposition of its voice. And that this silencing of the opposition was a prelude to establishing a regime of corruption, abuse, and dictatorship,” Robredo said.
Robredo also gave a stern reminder to the military that they should be loyal to the the people and the Constitution.
“Our men and women in the AFP must be reminded of their sworn duty: protect our people, defend our democracy and uphold our Constitution,” Robredo said.