MANILA - Several student leaders on Thursday denied the military's claims that communist rebels were recruiting in their schools for the supposed "Red October" plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.
In response to being linked to the supposed ouster plot, the students called false the military's allegation that videos of atrocities during the regime of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos were being used to agitate and "incite students to rebel against the government."
The youth leaders explained that videos of martial law were being shown in schools to remind their fellow students about the horrors of the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, a regime marked by killings, human rights violations and other abuses.
"Parang sobrang far-fetched ng sinasabing porke't may film showing sa martial law ay parang ginagamit as recruitment grounds," said Michael Jusayan of the University of Santo Tomas.
(It is so far-fetched to say that just because there is a film showing on martial law, [the schools are being] used as recruitment grounds.)
"Hindi na kailangan talaga ng destabilization plot para kay Duterte dahil galit na galit na talaga ang sambayanang Pilipino," added Jordan Jayme of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.
(There is no need for a plot to oust Duterte because Filipinos are already angry.)
Military officials earlier tagged 18 schools in the alleged plot to overthrow Duterte. They said communists were using issues such as the rate of inflation to agitate students and even people in the labor sector.
But Armed Forces Chief of Staff Carlito Galvez Jr. explained that they were "still validating" intelligence information about the schools, and that they released the list to make university officials aware.
The student leaders said they would be joining the "Black Friday" protests on October 5 and 12 to condemn what they described as the Duterte government's "scare tactics."
"We are prepared for a first quarter storm, if need be," said Jose Torio of the Ateneo de Manila University, referring to the series of protests in 1970 where student demonstrators were violently dispersed.