Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana dismissed as "fake news" the alleged brewing destabilization plots inside the Armed Forces of the Philippines, supposedly fueled by opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
"Kung meron talaga, mararamdaman talaga ng defense (department) or Armed Forces, talagang may magre-report sa amin. We have not received any such report. Lumalabas lang sa social media so ang tingin ko lang fake news 'yan," Lorenzana told reporters on Thursday, September 14, during the Senate hearing on the proposed 2018 budget of the Department of Defense.
(If there really is something, the defense department and Armed Forces will surely feel it, somebody will report it to us. We have not received any such report. It just appears on social media so I think, that's fake news.)
Lorenzana said there might be "one or two persons" trying to sow discord by spreading the wrong information.
During the hearing, Trillanes sought to clear his name amid reports he is recruiting members of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 2006 to join the coup attempt.
Trillanes asked AFP chief Eduardo Año if they have intelligence reports that a politician is actively recruiting for a coup.
The senator said a certain "General Kakilala" is allegedly spreading the information among the military. He was referring to retired Brigader General Joselito Kakilala.
In response, Año said they have not received validated reports that any personality is involved in destabilization plots.
"With regard [to] those information, they have to be validated. So far we have not validated and we have not seen any cause for dissatisfaction. So far we have not monitored any destabilization of any politician or personality," Año said.
Lorenzana, for his part, said he knows Kakilala but said he has no further information on the issue.
"Hindi pa kami nag-uusap niyan. Ngayon ko nga lang nalaman na meron siyang pinalalabas eh. Before this hindi ko alam na meron siyang pinalalabas,” he said. (We haven't talked yet. I just found out about it now. Before this, I didn't know he's releasing something like that.)
On the coup issue, the DND chief said: "Very remote. Kasi mararamdaman natin 'yan kung meron (Because we will feel it if there's something).”
The military earlier denied there are destabilization plots against President Rodrigo Duterte, contrary to the information being spread online by pro-administration groups and personalities. – Rappler.com
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 email@example.com