Military says Duterte ‘coup’ comment just random remark
Robie de Guzman • July 3, 2019 • 973
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)
MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to require foreign vessels to first secure a clearance from the government before entering the Philippine waters.
“That is a very good development. At least now we have some authority to enforce our laws within our territorial waters,” Lorenzana said Tuesday.
Earlier, Duterte, through spokesman Salvador Panelo, issued a directive for all foreign vessels to provide notification and get clearance from proper government authority in advance of the actual passage. He also warned foreign vessels that Manila will either get compliance in a friendly manner or enforce it in an unfriendly manner.
When asked to elaborate, Panelo explained that by saying ‘unfriendly,’ it means blocking entry to any foreign vessels intruding in the Philippine territory.
He, however, clarified that the President’s order didn’t mean an automatic use of force against intruders.
“By that it means that we will ask them to move out of the place, that’s unfriendly, because before we never said anything, we just allow them, we just make protest, but this time, we will tell them, please get out of our territorial waters,” Panelo said.
Lorenzana, for his part, could not say yet the “unfriendly option” the Philippine Military could use to ward of intruders into the country’s waters. The Defense chief said he will defer the matter to the Philippine Navy. (RRD with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday hailed the sacrifice and the important role that the late former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. played in restoring the country’s democracy as the nation marks his 36th death anniversary.
In his message, Duterte said Aquino’s sacrifice altered the course of the nation’s history and still continues to ignite the spirt of heroism among Filipinos.
“Today, we remember Benigno S. Aquino Jr. and his important role in restoring our democratic institutions more than three decades ago. His sacrifice altered the course of our nation’s history and still continues to ignite the spirit of heroism among our people,” he said.
Aquino was a well-known opposition figure and a staunch critic of the then-President Ferdinand Marcos.
He was imprisoned for his beliefs during the Martial Law before he and his family moved to the United States in 1980 to seek medical treatment which eventually led to his self-imposed exile for three years.
Upon returning to the Philippines on August 21, 1983, he was shot and killed at the then Manila International Airport (now named after him) as he was escorted off the airplane.
Ninoy’s death led to protests that sparked snap presidential elections in 1986, which led to the 1986 EDSA Revolution that catapulted his wife, Cory Aquino to presidency.
Duterte also expressed hope that this “auspicious occasion” may remind us of what we had lost “so that we may remain committed to our solemn duty to safeguard the freedoms that we now enjoy.”
“I also hope that Ninoy’s remarkable life as a public servant will move my fellow government workers to serve with honor, integrity and purpose as well as inspire our youth to be of service to their country and fellowmen,” he added.
Duterte also acknowledged that even halfway into his six-year term, there is still much that has to be done to eradicate the problems that plagued the country even during Ninoy’s time.
“Despite our gains in these past three years, there is still a lot that needs to be done if we are to completely eradicate the poverty, corruption and injustice that had plagued our nation even during Ninoy’s time,” he said.
“Let his example guide us as we strive to uplift and protect the most vulnerable in our society and ensure that all Filipinos will enjoy the blessings of freedom, democracy and the rule of law,” he added.
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