MANILA (UPDATE) - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) should conduct a loyalty check within its ranks amid the supposed plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte in October, Senator Panfilo Lacson said Wednesday.
Lacson, a former police chief, said the military should check on its men through counterintelligence.
"Even without the president directing it, the AFP leadership should already be doing the loyalty check by way of counterintelligence and other similar built-in mechanisms," he said in a statement.
"Failing to do so would create more serious problems for them," he added.
Lacson meanwhile noted that despite rumors of an alleged ouster plot, the President should not worry since he enjoys the "overwhelming" support of the majority of soldiers.
"The President should not worry. Kasi sa sarili naming (based on our own) assessment, he has the overwhelming support of the vast majority of the Armed Forces,” he said.
“We’ve been talking to many military officers, even police officers and most of them, lahat halos na nakausap namin, they are happy with the way the President is treating the AFP and PNP (Philippine National Police). Spoiled nga eh. Remember buhos sweldo, benefits, lahat binibigay niya,” he added.
(Almost everyone we talked to in the military and even the police are happy with the way the President is treating the AFP and PNP. They are even spoiled. Remember they are showered with salaries, benefits, he has been giving them everything.)
Military Assistant Deputy Chief for Operations Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade previously said that a "broad" coalition of communist rebels were allegedly conspiring to have Duterte removed from office by October.
He said the coalition is allegedly led by communist leaders Rey Casambre and Satur Ocampo. Casambre, however, denied Parlade's claims.
"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," Casambre earlier said.
The Communist Party of the Philippines has also denied plotting Duterte's ouster and described the allegation as a "fictional plot."
-with a report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News