Military says Duterte ‘coup’ comment just random remark

Robie de Guzman   •   July 3, 2019   •   1062

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the 72nd Philippine Air Force Anniversary at the Col. Jesus Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on July 2, 2019. VALERIE ESCALERA/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte’s appeal for the military and police not to stage a coup d’etat during his term was just a random remark, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Wednesday (July 3).

“That was a random remark on the part of the President and Commander-in-Chief, in so far as the AFP is concerned,” AFP spokesperson, Marine Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said in a message sent to reporters.

In a speech at the 72nd Founding anniversary of the Philippine Air Force in Pasay City, Duterte said that staging a coup is not necessary as he is willing to step down from office is asked to.

He added that Soldiers and policemen who no longer find him deserving to lead the country could simply call and talk to him over a cup of coffee.

“Do not do it please during my term. I told you before all you have to do kung ayaw ninyo ako, do not bring your weapons and mechanized armors there. Just call me and we’ll have coffee and I am ready to say, “It’s yours for the taking,” Duterte said on Tuesday.

According to Arevalo, there is nothing new in the chief executive’s comment on coup d’etat as he already mentioned it when he first met with the AFP and the Philippine National Police upon assumption of office.

“As early as the first joint AFP-PNP Command Conference that he presided upon his assumption of office and in several other instances after that, he has conveyed that same message to the security forces,” Arevalo said.

“He says, in essence, forget about mounting a military take-over that would lead to violence, death, and destruction. If anyone among the military (or the police) thinks he or she can better run the country, just tell him (the president) and he will step down,” he added.

Arevalo further said the AFP, led by its chief, General Benjamin Madrigal Jr., is an institution comprised of professional and matured servicemen and women who are patriots and loyal to the constitution and the duly constituted authorities.

“We have learned our lessons from the past and we shall live by it,” he said.

Arevalo also added that the reforms implemented in the AFP, including its modernization the increase in pay, allowances, and benefits like housing, have helped them best perform the mandate.

“We were given more than what we can ask for from a president and commander-in-chief who has shown genuine care and concern to his soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines,” he said.

Arevalo also assured that the military will always remain loyal to the Flag, the Constitution and the Filipino people.

“we have, time and again assured him, as we reassure him today, that we in the AFP shall constantly and will remain loyal to the flag, to the constitution, and to the Filipino people whom we swore to protect with our lives,” he said. (with details from Lea Ylagan and Rosalie Coz)

AFP to push for tougher anti-terrorism law

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 11, 2019

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday (December 10) said they will push for tougher laws against terrorism, as martial law in Mindanao will no longer be extended.

In a statement, AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said the AFP is pleased that President Rodrigo Duterte heeded their recommendation to no longer extend martial law in Mindanao.

He also said that they will continue to push for tougher laws to prevent counter-terrorism.

“The AFP will pursue our advocacy towards the amendment of the Human Security Act into an Anti-Terrorism Law that will not be too restrictive to security forces but has more teeth to prevent or counter terrorism,” Arevalo said.

Malacañang announced earlier on Tuesday that President Rodrigo Duterte will not extend martial law in Mindanao upon its expiration on December 31, 2019.

Meanwhile, the AFP said they will “continue to collaborate with local chief executives, and the people in the communities in the conduct of our current activities to sustain these gains brought about by ML.”—AAC

Duterte meets with Filipino SEA Games ‘hero’ surfer, surfing team in Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   December 11, 2019

President Rodrigo (left); hero surfer Roger Casugay (center) with the rest of the Philippine surfing team at Malacañan Palace

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday met with the members of the Philippine surfing team, including Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medalist Roger Casugay, who recently went viral for his heroic act of saving his Indonesian rival during their event.

Casugay and the rest of the team paid a courtesy call to Duterte in Malacañang, based on photos released to media on Wednesday morning.

Casugay earned praises after he rescued Indonesian surfer Arip Nurhidayat who was swept by rolling waves after he broke his leash in the middle of men’s longboard open surfing competition in La Union. 

The 25-year old surfer eventually won the gold medal after the event between the two was rescheduled on Sunday.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday expressed his appreciation for Casugay for personifying sportsmanship in the ongoing biennial meet.

The Senate also adopted a resolution commending the athlete for displaying an act of heroism and courage.

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said Casugay will be conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu by the President in a Palace ceremony next week.

The Order of Lapu-Lapu is bestowed upon individuals who are recognized for their invaluable service in relation to a campaign or advocacy of the President.

Casugay was earlier chosen to be the country’s flag bearer in the SEA Games closing ceremonies to be held on Wednesday at the New Clark City in Tarlac.

Duterte fetes Philippine Army shooters

Robie de Guzman   •   December 10, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte announces to the Philippine Army Team that they will receive P500,000 incentive for their sterling performance in the ASEAN Armies Rifle Meet 2019 held recently in Indonesia. KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte gave recognition to Philippine Army shooters who hauled medals from the recently-concluded ASEAN Armies Rifles Meet (AARM) held in Indonesia.

The recognition was conducted in Malacañang on Monday during a courtesy call to the President, the Philippine Army said in a statement Tuesday.

According to Philippine Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, members of the shooting team called “Manunudla” were introduced to the president while they presented their medals and trophies from the AARM 2019.

“Manunudla” is a Filipino word that means shooter. It was chosen to symbolize the team as a way of embracing its Filipino identity while representing the country in various international events.

The shooting team were able to bring home a total of 22 medals – 7 gold, 8 silver and 7 bronze – putting them at the second place. The 6 gold, 7 silver, and 7 bronze were from the team events, and 1 gold, 1 silver from the individual events.

The competitions during the AARM include the pistol (men & women), rifle/carbine and machine gun matches.

“I give my full support to the training of the Philippine Army soldiers so they can perform their duties at the best of their abilities. For the shooters, aim to be on the top of AARM next year,” Duterte said as he lauded the shooters for their efforts during the event.

“With the support of the President, our soldiers will train hard to excel not only in the field of competition but in everything they do as we transform into a world-class Army,” Gapay said.

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