On Saturday, September 8, Duterte bared an alleged plot to destabilize his government and oust him from office being hatched up by Senator Antonio Trillanes, the Liberal Party (LP) which is led by Vice President Leni Robredo and former President Benigno Aquino, and elements of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) of exiled communist leader Jose Maria Sison.
“It’s all in his mind. He is already paranoid,” said Trillanes, in an interview at his office in the Senate..
Duterte has become paranoid, said opposition lawmaker Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano, echoing Trillanes.
Alejano, a Navy officer who joined Trillanes, then a Navy lieutenant, in the Oakwood mutiny of 2003 and the Manila Peninsula Hotel Siege of 2007, was also given amnesty by Aquino for the twin mutinies that targeted then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
I don’t know why he is being paranoid! There’s no such ouster plot, said Alejano. He said that if there is a plot to oust Duterte, it could come from the people not the opposition.
“Duterte has gone crazy,” Alejano told reporters when he on Sunday visited Trillanes in his Senate office.
Rep. Teddy Baguilat said in jest that forgetfulness could be playing a joke on the 73-year old Duterte.
The Ifugao lawmaker, a member of the LP, said the President might have been thinking of Oktoberfest, the month long beer festival in Germany, not “Red October,” a reference to the 1917 communist uprising in Russia.
Liberal Party (LP) stalwarts Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Francis Pangilinan also denied the opposition LP is planning to oust Duterte.
“The accusation of destabilization is downright false. It is ridiculous. Dissent is not destabilization,” said Pangilinan in a statement.
“Every time scandals and controversies hound this administration, whether it be corruption issues or issues of incompetent governance, it blames the opposition.” he said.
Pangilinan, president of the LP, said his party need not do anything for the Duterte administration to self-destruct.
The Duterte administration is “destabilizing itself” due to incompetence and corruption, he said.
“The opposition does not have to do anything. On its own, either by its incompetence or corruption, the government is doing a good job of destabilizing itself,” Pangilinan said.
LP chair Robredo, in her radio program, said the LP can never mount a coup because it lacks warm bodies.
She said the LP force can be counted in one’s fingers, many of its members having moved to Duterte’s party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino/Lakas ng Bansa (PDP/Laban).
The LP, she said, is always made the whipping boy every time something goes wrong in the Duterte administration.
The LP is always blamed for the shortcomings of the Duterte administration. I don’t think that’s right, Robredo said.
Pangilinan, who earlier said that it is Duterte’s appointees who are destabilizing the government, said that the President should lend his ears to allies calling for the resignation of officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Food Authority (NFA).
Pangilinan said that in wake of the rice crisis, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Representatives Joey Salceda and Karlo Nograles, and Senator Cynthia Villar have called for the firing or resignation of officials of the two agencies.
House minority leader Danilo Suarez even “went so far as calling for the firing” of officials at the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Finance, Department of Budget and Management, and the National Economic and Development Authority “for their inability to manage the economy,” added Pangilinan.
“For everyone’s sake, instead of throwing baseless accusations at LP and the opposition, the government should listen to the cry of the people and focus on rising prices of goods and lack of jobs that would sufficiently provide for the average Filipino family,” said Pangilinan.
Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin, another partylist solon, joined Alejano in lashing at Duterte.
Villarin said that instead of blaming others for his administration’s woes, Duterte should find solutions to people’s problems.
Villarin said that the “strongman” Duterte “has turned into a weak leader losing control, rambling and scrambling for escape and excuses, instead of finding solutions.”
Villarin said Duterte “should not drag the entire nation into his paranoia” to cover up for his failure to address economic problems.
“Prices of goods are skyrocketing, unemployment is increasing, while the value of peso and business confidence are hitting rock bottom. Instead of rallying the people in mitigating a looming economic crisis, he makes it all about securing and maintaining his presidency. No wonder that less and less Filipinos trust him in performing his duty,” said Villarin. The latest survey by the Social Weather Stations showed Duterte’s net satisfaction rating dropping by 8 points.