President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday urged soldiers to avoid “wasting time” by plotting a coup against him and instead convince him to step down if they no longer find him deserving to lead the country.
“Do not go into such stupid things. Coup d’état, coup d’état, you’re wasting your time. Just talk to me and if I think you are right, I will agree with you and I will step down,” Duterte said in his speech at the send-off ceremony for the 250 transport vehicles of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology at Camp General Vicente Lim in Calamba, Laguna.
“If you think I do not deserve to be there, just tell me. I’d be happy to oblige. If you think there’s a better guy there on the side,” he added.
Duterte, meanwhile, reminded soldiers to fulfill their sworn duty to protect the country and Filipinos.
“Your loyalty should begin and end with the Republic of the Philippines. Do not mind me,” he said.
The President also vowed to “rebuild” soldiers who were severely injured while performing their duties.
“Sabi ko sa mga sundalo nung nagbista ako sa Cagayan three days ago, sabi ko (I told the soldiers when I visited Cagayan three days ago, I said) while I am President I will never allow an inutile soldier, policeman or guard,” he said.
“Kung mawala yung paa mo, kung wala akong maibigay, ibigay ko ang paa ko. Tandaan mo, hindi ako papayag na may sundalo akong inutil (If you lose your leg, if I have nothing to give, I will give my leg. Remember this, I will not allow any of my soldiers to be inutile). I will rebuild you as a soldier,” he added.
In a televised one-on-one interview last Sept. 11, Duterte bared an intelligence report showing that the Magdalo group, Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Maria Sison, and other opposition groups are in a “loose conspiracy” to overthrow the government.
He challenged soldiers to join Senator Antonio Trillanes IV if they think the senator, a former Navy officer known for his failed coup attempts against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, can do better in running the country.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier described Duterte’s dare to oust him as an expression of confidence that Trillanes and other groups will not get support from the soldiers.
“It means the President is confident that there would be no support from the military to unseat him,” Roque said in an earlier Palace press briefing.
He said Duterte has clarified that he is not clinging to the position he won overwhelmingly in the 2016 elections.
“He challenged them because he’s sure there would be no support. But he’s also saying he is not clinging to his post. If they want to, then do it,” he added. (PNA)