MANILA -- Senators belonging to the Liberal Party on Thursday shrugged off reports that there were plans to overthrow the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte noting that Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has confirmed this himself.
“Walang destab. Walang conspiracy ang Partido, ang LP. Hindi siya involved dito. In fact, kahit si Secretary Lorenzana mismo ang nagsasabi na walang ouster o walang destab plot (There’s no destabilization lot. The LP is not making a conspiracy. It is not involved here. In fact, Secretary Lorenzana himself said that there’s no ouster or destab plot),” Senator Francis Pangilinan said in an interview.
Pangilinan said that it was no longer new for the LP to be accused of scheming against the administration since a year ago.
“Eh dati na 'yan eh. Paulit-ulit na 'yan…basta mayroong gusto silang sisihin, pinakamadaling gawin ay sisihin ang LP. Hindi na ito naiiba dun (That’s old news. It’s repetitive. As long as they have got someone to blame, it’s always the LP),” he added.
He stressed that criticizing the government should not be immediately associated with destabilization plots or that critics were “enemies of the State.”
Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, like Pangilinan, also denied the accusation.
"Hindi kami involved sa anumang ouster plot. Ang mga paratang na yan ay gawa-gawa lamang (We are not involved in any ouster plot. Those accusations are fabrications),” Aquino said.
Aquino, meanwhile, urged the government to allow people to hold a separate stand on issues and air their criticisms without fear of retribution instead of exerting efforts to persecute dissenters.
"This is no longer healthy for our democracy. Sa isang demokrasya, dapat may kakayahan tayong magsabi ng ating saloobin (In a democracy, we should have the capability to air our thoughts),” he added.
Although not a member of the LP, Senator Panfilo Lacson said that it was “possible” that there were some planning to do so, but pointed out that Duterte still had high trust ratings.
“Pwedeng may nag-iisip pero if they succeed, 82 percent approval and trust rate ng pangulo, mahirap mangyari 'yan ma-oust ka either through People Power (There could be some thinking about it, but the approval and trust rating of the President is at 82 percent. It would be difficult to be ousted either through People Power),” Lacson said.
Lacson said that it was also unlikely that the military had plans to do so.
“Military unlikely naman since he’s so close with the military. But during the hearing namin sa budget ng DND, categorically tinanong ni Senator Trillanes kung may move to destabilize. Sagot ng DND and AFP leadership, both Sec Lorenzana and CSAFP ano, wala. So there’s no basis (“It’s unlikely that the military has plans because the President is close with the military. But during one of our budget hearings, the DND and AFP leadership both said that there were no destabilization plots),” he added. (PNA)