By Vanne Terrazola
Senator Francis Pangilinan on Tuesday said he was “surprised” that the Liberal Party (LP) has not been included in the supposed “Oust Duterte” plot.
Pangilinan, LP president, wondered why the opposition party, unlike previous claims, was spared from the alleged ouster plot tagging journalists and lawyers critical of the Duterte administration.
“Of course, ako nasurpresa ba’t hindi kami sinama, ‘yong LP, dahil laging namang kaming sinasama (Of course, I was surprised why we, the LP, are not included, when the administration usually mentions us),” the minority senator said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel.
But Pangilinan said he believes that the latest allegations against the media were false and only made up, recalling Duterte’s admission in 2017 that most of his statements were “non-sense.”
“Well, si Presidente na rin ang nagsabi minsan, I think a couple of years ago, na lima sa mga sinasabi niya, tatlo ang hindi totoo. Palagay ko isa na ito doon eh. Eh mukhang gawa-gawa lang, eh,” he said.
(Well, it was the President himself who admitted, I think it was a couple of years ago, that out of the five things he said, three were not true. I think this is one of those. This looks like it was just made up.)
He also cited the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) saying that there are no threats to remove the President from office, despite the Palace’s confirmation of the “matrix” of those involved in the alleged attempt to discredit Duterte.
For Pangilinan, the ouster claim was yet another attempt to divert public attention from issues hounding the government.
“Mukhang merong nasa loob, nakapaligid sa Malacañang na gumagawa nito na consistent, sa maraming pagkakataon in the past, na pag mayroong isyu laban sa administrasyon, ibinabalik na may ‘ouster plot’,” he claimed.
(There seem to have a few people in Malacañang, who consistently, in several incidences in the past, retaliates with an ‘ouster plot’ whenever there are issues against the administration.)
He also recalled the AFP clearing him and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV from the supposed “Red October” destabilization plan of communist groups to oust President Duterte, which he said was floated last year amid the country’s problem on the supply of affordable rice.
“So again, you have the Armed Forces saying one thing and the intelligence report saying another,” Pangilinan said.
Aside from calling it a “diversionary tactic”, Pangilinan also believed that the allegations were “meant to sow fear” among journalists and members of the media.
“Siguro ang mensahe eh, “Pag kayo ay manatiling kritiko, eh, mangyayari sa inyo ay ‘yong nangyayari siguro kay [Rappler CEO] Maria Ressa,” he said, urging the mentioned journalists to stand against the claims.