Alejano claims Duterte ordered AFP to stop West Philippine Sea patrols, but military resisted
A partylist congressman alleged before a news forum in Quezon City Saturday President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the military to stop patrols in West Philippine Sea but the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) did not follow orders.
“I received information that the Duterte administration ordered our AFP not to patrol the West Philippine Sea anymore,” said Alejano, a former Marine official, said.
“That is the information I got, that we should not waste our time at the West Philippine Sea because nothing will happen. We will be just spending fuel,” added the Magdalo Partylist congressman.
Alejano said the AFP opposed the directives of the president. Instead of completely stopping the patrol, the military limited its deployment to once in a month to compromise with the instruction of the president.
“The armed forces said 'wait that is our mandate. We will (be) remiss (in) our mandate to protect our sovereignty',” he said.
"That's impossible," said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque of Alejano's claim.
Col. Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesman, denied the claim of Alejano about the alleged order of President Rodrigo Duterte to stop the maritime patrol in West Philippine Sea.
“I do not know where Cong. Alejano got that supposed instruction from the commander-in-chief,” said Arevalo.
“Most probably that is fake news if not yet another malicious imputation on the President dragging the AFP in,” he added.
Arevalo also assured the AFP is conducting patrols within its territories as part of its mandate to protect and the state.
“For the record, there is no such order coming from the commander-in-chief. As a matter of fact, our maritime and aerial patrols continue?contrary to such information allegedly received by the partylist congressman,” he said.
“Let me assure our people that your AFP continues and will continue to perform its mandate,” he added. Robina Asido/DMS