MANILA—Malacañang on Friday denied it is using the Red October ouster plot allegation against critics of President Rodrigo Duterte to divert public attention from the rising prices of goods.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the government is doing all it can to address the country’s soaring inflation, amid criticism that it was more bent on cracking down on political enemies than solving the rising prices of goods.
“Hindi ho namin kailangang pagtakpan ang problema na hinaharap. So, lahat po tayo apektado ng inflation. Kaya nga po gumawa na ng hakbang para mapababa ang mga presyo at mangyayari na po iyan,” Roque told dzRH.
(We don’t need to cover these problems up. We are all affected by inflation, which is why the government has taken steps to arrest the rising prices of goods.)
The Armed Forces of the Philippines earlier claimed that the communists have mounted a so-called “Red October” plan to oust Duterte.
Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade, AFP deputy chief of staff for operations, claimed that opposition coalition Tindig Pilipinas almost got involved in the plan but backed out after realizing that communists were behind the move.
The President had earlier alleged that the opposition Liberal Party and Magdalo group have forged an alliance with the communists to destabilize the government, something that the three groups have denied.
Opposition Senator Francis Pangilinan told the government that “instead of attacking those who disagree with his policies he (Duterte) should just focus on solving the nationwide rice crisis, bringing down the high prices of basic commodities, and creating jobs and better pay for our people who are now struggling desperately to make ends meet.”
Pangilinan said this in response to the President’s fresh rants against him for his role in the crafting of a law that set the minimum age of criminal responsibility.
Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, meanwhile, said "all diversionary tactics of this government will not work for one simple reason: the most pressing concerns of Filipinos are gut issues."
"You can't improve inflation, reduce poverty, create jobs by sending Trillanes to jail," he added, referring to government efforts to revive coup d'état and rebellion charges against fierce opposition senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
Roque on Thursday assured the public that the government’s measures to tame the soaring inflation will kick in soon, after a recent survey of Pulse Asia showed increased public dissatisfaction over how the government addresses the rising prices of goods.
Out of the 1,800 Filipino adults surveyed last September 1 to 7, 63 percent said controlling inflation is their top concern, a 12-point increase on the issue from last June's 51 percent.
The survey also showed a 22 percentage points increase in public disapproval for the work done by the government in terms of controlling inflation.
There were also significant increases in public disapproval of the national government’s work in reducing poverty (+16 percentage points) and improving/increasing pay of workers (+10 percentage points).
Duterte recently issued orders removing non-tariff barriers in the importation of agricultural products, as the country’s economic managers point out that soaring inflation is supply driven.