Drilon dares Malacañang: File charges vs LP members in Duterte ouster plot

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Wednesday, October 3, dared Malacañang to file charges against Liberal Party members colluding with communists to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.

Drilon also slammed Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque for insisting on the allegation even after Armed Forces chief General Carlito Galvez denied it during a Senate hearing on Tuesday. (READ: AFP: No 'Red-Yellow' coalition to oust Duterte)

“I challenge Malacañang, particularly Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, to file charges against LP members who are allegedly in cahoots with the communists to overthrow the government,” Drilon, an LP member, said in a statement.

“In fact, I believe it is the responsibility of Malacañang to file the charges now because its credibility is at stake for issuing baseless allegations that are later denied by the military,” he said.

During the Senate hearing on the proposed 2019 budget of the Department of National Defense, Galvez categorically said LP was not involved in any ouster plot.

"General Galvez’s statement in an open hearing that the LP was not involved in any attempt to oust the President should put the issue to rest," Drilon said.

"But Roque’s insistence shows that he is merely making up stories to harass the critics of the President and the political opposition. Let me borrow Sec Roque’s own words. We should not take Roque seriously," Drilon added.

In defense of Duterte's controversial statements, Roque had said on previous occasions that the media and the public should not take the President's remarks "seriously." (READ: Duterte 'not serious' about EJK remark – Roque)

Senator Francis Pangilinan, LP president, said the clearance from the AFP should take precedence over Roque’s statements.

“Hindi naman bago na iba't ibang sangay ng administrasyon ay iba-iba ang sinasabi. Pero tayo, maliwanag [na] sinabi ng Armed Forces Chief of Staff na walang relasyon o walang koalisyon ang LP kasama ang Magdalo at ng Communist Party of the Philippines. So I think that should be clear and categorical,” Pangilinan said

(It's not new that different branches of this administration are saying different things. But for us, the Armed Forces Chief of Staff clearly said that there is no coalition between LP, Magdalo, and the Communist Party of the Philippines. So I think that should be clear and categorical.)

Instead of focusing on politics, Drilon said the Duterte administration should address the “alarming increases of oil prices” and the rise of the country’s inflation.

In a news briefing on Tuesday, Roque insisted that "some members" of the LP are linked to the alleged communist-led Red October plot to oust Duterte despite Galvez's clearance.

"We are convinced that some members of the LP party, Liberal Party are in collusion with the CPP-NPA," Roque said in Tuesday when asked about the statement of Galvez at the Senate hearing.

Asked to name the LP members, Roque said the best person to identify them would be President Rodrigo Duterte, who first made the claim. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com