President Rodrigo Duterte’s dare to the military to mutiny and support his critic Senator Antonio Trillanes IV was an expression of his confidence in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Malacañang said Wednesday.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte trusted that the military would not support any ouster efforts against him.
“It just means that the President is confident that there will be no support coming from the military to remove him from his post,” Roque told reporters.
“His seeming incitement is actually also an expression of confidence that no one will follow Senator Trillanes.”
Duterte on Tuesday dared the military to stage a coup and oust him if they no longer found him effective as a leader, echoing what he had been repeatedly saying in previous speeches.
“If you want another President, fine,” Duterte said.
Duterte’s tirades prompted his critics to suspect that the chief executive had started feeling “insecure” about the military’s loyalty.
In other developments:
• Police Chief Oscar Albayalde said Wednesday they will not be persuaded to join any move by would-be coup plotters in ousting Duterte.
“We will always be loyal to the Constitution, to his administration and to the Filipino people. The President has our trust and confidence,” Albayalde said.
• Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano on Wednesday urged Duterte to send a message of unity instead of challenging the military to oust him.
Alejano, a former officer of the Philippine Navy, lamented Duterte’s statements during his tête-à-tête with Chief Presidential Legal Adviser Salvador Panelo on Tuesday.
• Both Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Maria Sison and the Magdalo group on Tuesday denied they were in cahoots to oust Duterte.
• Duterte’s one-on-one interview with Panelo was “a lost opportunity,” Vice President Leni Robredo said Wednesday.
She told the Duterte administration to focus on inflation the rice crisis and how to address them, instead of repeatedly criticizing the opposition.
She said the President could have discussed and addressed the people’s immediate and urgent concerns rather than waste time coming out in a televised “tete-a-tete” with Panelo.
• Duterte’s widely anticipated public address was a complete disappointment and a total waste of time and precious government resources, Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros said Wednesday.
Instead of presenting concrete measures to address the soaring inflation and rice crisis, she said, Duterte spent a good part of his “tete-a-tete” with his legal adviser trying to justify his revocation of Senator Antonio Trillanes’s amnesty, discussing his paranoia over a so-called October destabilization plot and his bloody war on drugs.
“Whatever measures, if any, President Duterte offered to address the country’s twin rice and inflation crises, they were vague and lost in his stories of destabilization plots,” she said.
In his interview Tuesday, the President also listed down his contributions to the military and stressed that Trillanes, a former Navy officer, had done nothing.
His remarks came a week since his proclamation voiding Trillanes’ amnesty for the uprisings in 2003 and 2007 was made public. Since then, Trillanes has been holed up in his office at the Senate as he faced arrest. The senator is fighting the order in court.
For Alejano, Duterte’s statements bared his insecurity when he talked about Trillanes instead of ways to curb inflation.
The former Marine said the President’s support for the military should not be aimed at nurturing personal loyalty.
“It should not result [in] personal loyalty of the AFP to anybody else, even to the President, because we want the AFP to be neutral and political. We want the AFP to uphold and defend the Constitution and [be] loyal to the Constitution,” he said.