December 30, 2016 at 10:01 pm
Rio N. Araja and John Paolo Bencito
VICE President Leni Robredo on Friday denied her role in any plan to oust President Rodrigo Duterte, or of joining any rallies that called for the Chief Executive’s ouster.
Robredo maintained she did not have plan to unseat Duterte, and said her resignation from the President’s Cabinet “has nothing to do with her expression of her own political views.”
The Vice President said she never attended demonstrations against Duterte and the President’s decisions and policies, such as allowing a hero’s burial for the late President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani and his apparent condonation of extrajudicial killings of drug suspects.
“I am not aware of, much less am I involved in, any effort to ‘oust’ the President,” Robredo’s official statement read. “Furthermore, I categorically deny joining rallies that called for the President’s ouster.”
Meanwhile, Duterte said he’s already content with the state of lawless violence that he declared in the country amid concerns that he might declare Martial Law.
“What I said, Martial Law, didn’t I tell you that I don’t want it? I cannot declare (it), I don’t need it. I’m already okay with [declaring] lawless violence, the present state of things,” Duterte said in a live television interview on Thursday.
Duterte admitted it was Senator Panfilo Lacson who spoke to him about the possibility of declaring Martial Law, which he said triggered “loose talk” on the matter.
“If anything could go wrong, said Ping (Lacson), in Mindanao, it would go wrong. Murphy’s Law. If it gets worse, tell Rody, suggest it to the President, to declare martial law for Mindanao,” Duterte said in the same television interview.
Robredo, however, appealed to the President and those around him to not misinterpret criticism of his leadership as “plots” to remove him from power.
“Criticism is not conspiracy, and the administration is well advised to stop seeing ‘plots’ behind every unflattering news report, irate citizens’ assembly, or angry Facebook post,” the Vice President said.
Criticisms against the President “have come about as a reaction to his own actions and statements,” Robredo said, and that expressing one’s opposing opinions was “a cornerstone of our free Republic.”
Critics of Duterte, including Robredo’s allies in the opposition, have raised fears of Martial Law following an explosion that ripped through the Roxas night market in Davao City, the President’s hometown, moving him to declare a state of lawless violence.
Duterte’s declaration allowed the increased presence of the military and police throughout the country, not just to combat bombings and other terror threats but also to boost the President’s campaign against illegal drugs and to curb the rise in extrajudicial killings.
Still, Duterte earlier said that he wanted the constitutional provisions on the declaration of martial law amended, noting that the Supreme Court may not agree with Congress’ approval of the measure.
“Congress is made up of politicians. Now, if I go to Congress, they say, go ahead, (extend the declaration of martial law for) another 60 days. Then the Supreme Court says the factual basis for martial law does not exist. It’s pure fiction in the mind, so it is not lawful to declare martial law. So what happens? Who will choose (to declare it)? It would be me,” the President said.