Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano on Thursday claimed that a pushback from military leaders over the arrest of Sen. Antonio Trillanes is the cause for the President’s resentful statements towards the military.
Alejano bared this in a forum in Makati organized by civic groups Manindigan Na! and Tindig Pilipinas!
“Nakakausap din naman natin ang mga sundalo at pulis, wala daw silang magawa dahil inutos,” he said, referring to orders to have Trillanes arrested.
“But the point is, merong pushback on their part, dahil hindi po pwede ang Proclamation 572 ang gagamitin sa pag-aresto,” he added.
Alejano said that had the military wanted to enforce the arrest of Trillanes, they could have easily done so given the sheer number of security personnel in the Senate. That they did not is proof of the pushback.
Alejano also divulged that based on information he gathered from his sources, the military generals who were in the Philippines while the other generals were in Israel when Presidential Proclamation 572 was made public did not want to decide whether to arrest Trillanes.
“They made a committee to discuss the matter. And we’ve heard, according to our information, they have recommended to the President to isolate the military from this political activity. Kasi masisira po ang military, according to them,” he said.
“That’s the reason why nagmamaktol ang Presidente noong bumalik siya dito, noong kaharap nila ni Atty. Panelo,” he added, referring to Duterte’s têtê-a-têtê with chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo, where the President dared the military to join Trillanes and stage a mutiny or a revolution.
In subsequent speeches, Duterte has even offered to step down so government forces need not stage a coup against him.
“Ang gusto niya mangyari, whatever he does, the Armed Forces will bestow personal loyalty to him. Yun ang maling-mali po. Even ourselves in the Armed Forces, we don’t demand loyalty to us. Because all the help we’re giving them, even the President, doesn’t come from our pockets. From the Filipino people, dapat yun ang maintindihan nila,” Alejano said.
The congressman also did not take kindly to Duterte’s statements about giving wristwatches and pistols to soldiers.
“Nagkakamali si President Duterte. You can only do so much sa pagsasabing bibigyan mo ng relo, ng baril. Hindi ho nabibili ang sundalo. Natutuwa lang yan pero alam niyo ho, hindi naman sweldo ikinabubuhay ng mga sundalo,” he said.
Alejano said the President may have underestimated the bond among former and current soldiers.
“Si President Duterte, 2016 lang naman nasa Malacanan. Kami matagal na kaming, may mga classmate, mistah kami dyan, upperclass, underclass. Nakasama ho namin, then probably after 2022, magkasama pa rin kami kahit wala na si Digong,” he said.
“So hindi naman pwedeng sabihin ni President Duterte you should be loyal to me not to them…Hindi niya po naiintindihan ang relationship namin sa kanila. Malalim ho ‘yan. In the field, kaya ngang magpakamatay ang classmate mo para sagipin ka. Ito pa?” he added.
Alejano was quick to clarify that he is not advocating attempts to overthrow the President, amid rumors of a "Red October" plot, an allegation which came from AFP officials.
A "broad" coalition of communist rebels and President Rodrigo Duterte's critics are allegedly conspiring to remove him from office in October.
“We should not allow Duterte to find justification and declare martial law… So we will go through the legal process. This is actually our opportunity na ipakita kung gaano kaloko itong gobyernong ito. Because at the end of the day, we are fighting perceptions of the people. This is a perception war. Labanan ito sa isip ng tao,” he said.
Alejano is among those expected to run for the Senate in the May 2019 midterm polls under the opposition coalition.