NSA Esperon shrugs off 'oust Duterte' plot

MANILA, Philippines – National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr on Thursday, September 22, shrugged off rumors of a supposed plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.  

"Mayroon akong mga (I have some) reports, but I will not classify them into actions that would merit an attempt to topple the government," the former Armed Forces chief told reporters on the sidelines of a Senate hearing on the budget of the National Security Council (NSC) on Thursday, September 22. 

"The groups that are being mentioned do not have capabilities," Esperon said. 

The NSC is the chief advisory body that coordinates policies affecting national security.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar earlier made claims about a supposed ouster plot being hatched by a group of Filipino-Americans in the United States.

"Ano naman ang capability ng (What is the capability of the) Filipino-American group to destabilize? I would like to, at the moment, take all of those as criticisms against the government. Kung mapatunayan na mayroon (If we can verify that there's a) destabilization attempt, in due time, we will come up with statements," said Esperon. 

Duterte himself had accused the Liberal Party of former president Benigno Aquino III of plotting to oust him, a claim that was denied by the LP leadership. 

Esperon said he is also confident that Duterte has the full support of the military. He said it is the only institution that has the capability to overthrow the government. 

"Huwag 'nyo na isipin 'yan (Don't think about that anymore)," he added. – Rappler.com