MANILA - Interior Secretary Eduardo Año confirmed Wednesday that there were initial efforts to recruit soldiers to join the supposed ouster plot against President Rodrigo Duterte.
The said recruitment efforts were tackled in a security meeting following the President's trip to Jordan earlier this month.
"Mayroon lang nakita ang Armed Forces na some sort of initial recruitment, 'yun yung naging basis na maging proactive tayo,” Año told reporters in Camp Vicente Lim in Calamba, Laguna.
(The Armed Forces saw some sort of initial recruitment which became the basis for us to be proactive.)
Año, a former military chief, however declined to name who was behind the alleged recruitment efforts but denied that it was coming from the ranks of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Military officials earlier said there was a "broad" coalition of communist rebels and critics of the President plotting to oust him next month.
The said coalition, according to the military, allegedly includes supporters of ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and the group Tindig Pilipinas, whose members incidentally include Liberal Party leaders.
Año added that the government has recovered documents of the communist movement's supposed plan to oust the President as early as October last year.
“That information may mga captured document, even last year pa, this Red October sinimulan nila last year pa 'yan. And this, itong CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army) they would choose, make alliances with other forces, including political forces to oust the President,” he said.
(The information on the retrieved documents began as early as last year. This Red October began last year and the CPP-NPA would choose, make alliances with other forces, including political forces, to oust the President.)
“Sabay-sabay kasi 'yung labor sector, student sector, magkakaroon ng malaking rally and then the CPP-NPA will exploit the situation,” he added.
(It's all happening at the same time. The labor sector, student sector will all have a huge rally and the CPP-NPA will exploit the situation.)
Duterte also previously urged the public to watch out for his critics' supposed move to oust him, which he said would "go into a high gear" in October.
Año's statement comes after President Duterte revealed that several soldiers have joined the supposed conspiracy effort to oust him from office.
In his speech at the turnover of 250 transport vehicles to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Duterte said that he was willing to step down should the military and police tell him to do so.
“If you think that I don’t deserve to be there, just tell me. I would be happy to oblige. Pagod na ako (I am tired),” Duterte said.
“Your loyalty should begin and end with the Republic of the Philippines,” he added.
Año said there was no need for a loyalty check within the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“We are very confident the AFP and PNP will never venture into any adventurism, coup d'etat, destabilization plot,” he said.
The Communist Party of the Philippines has denied plotting Duterte's ouster and described the allegation as a "fictional plot."
Leftist lawmakers, the Liberal Party, as well as critics of the President, have also denied plotting Duterte's ouster.