Lorenzana says no need for emergency powers to stop "Red October" plot vs Duterte
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Tuesday there is no need for emergency power to stop a “Red October” ouster plot against President Rodrigo Duterte.
“We do not need emergency powers because we are not yet facing an emergency situation. These are just irritants that somehow distract us from properly governing,” he said.
Lorenzana admitted that the defense department is taking the ouster plot seriously.
“We take it seriously. Remember that this was uncovered last Feb. 2017 in an encounter between our troops in Bukidnon. It was hatched by the CPP/NPA ( Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army) in Oct 2016 even before the President cancelled the peace talks,” he said.
“After it was cancelled the implementation became an urgent program by the CPP/NPA. Their plan was to get as many civil organizations as possible to join their mass actions led by their progressive fronts. It is supposed to culminate this October,” he added.
Col. Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesman, said emphasized that the CPP/ NPA plan to oust the President is “no joke”.
“The volume of what they wanted to do, the orchestrated efforts that they do, this is no joke. It might have failed in the past. Thank God, it’s because we the Armed Forces of the Philippines are still there and part of the other uniformed service and other agencies of government in helping to prevent it from happening,” he said.
“I do not have any idea as to the success rate but what I can say all the threats like this we take seriously,” he added.
Arevalo said the communist group have been planning to conduct to intensify mass and international campaign to oust Duterte.
“The communist NPA are planning to oust Duterte administration through grand coalition and broad united front, specifically they are planning to conduct intensified mass campaigns and international campaign, among the intensified mass campaign is the 'Oplan Aklasan', the objective of which is for them to infiltrate, as some has already have been already infiltrated by members of the NPA, the CPP,” he said.
“After they infiltrate the labor group-- this is no secret-- they capitalize on major or minor labor management issues hoping to foment disagreement between management and workers and to make issues to conduct strikes and demonstrations,” he added.
Arevalo said the communist group have started to move, targeting Metro Manila and other areas.
“They have movement, targeting areas like Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod and Iloilo and they are targeting labor actions the way they did with Nutri Asia...,” he said.
To counter their actions, Arevalo said the AFP is exposing the grand plans of the CPP-NPA to the public.
“What are the actions taken by the AFP, first what we did and we are still doing now is exposing these plans of this broad coalition led by the CPP NPA informing the would be participants in the coalition as to what is the grand plan that they are going to be involved in second by this information that we are making public,” he said.
“By this information that we are making public, we are hopeful that the public will be made aware of this plans and afford them this information that they will need for an informed decision,” he added.
Lorenzana said the authorities are closely monitoring their activities.
“Exposure is first step. Second is to monitor their activities and their affiliates. Third is to pre-empt if there are indications that they will conduct destab or any violent mass movement,” he said.
“If you have been listening to Joma Sison he came out recently to say that (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) PRRD will not last till middle of 2019. Maybe they have moved their goalpost considering the lackluster performance of their so-called mas rallies, (the) last martial law anniversary. We are closely monitoring them including other groups,” he added.
When asked if Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and the opposition is among the groups he has mentioned, Lorenzana said “the intel(ligence) believes so”.
Arevalo said what the military is doing is not to protect the president but the government itself.
“Why are we doing this, by doing this we are not protecting Pesident Duterte per se, what we are protecting is our government, what we are protecting are the duly constituted authorities and our democratic way of life,” he said.
“Let us not be mistaken or let us not be misled, or let us not be misconstrued, we are not against any legitimate exercise of the people’s freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly only that in so doing, that must be within the bounds of law...,” he added.
Arevalo also mentioned that the AFP is also looking at possible legal actions against the communist group members.
“We are looking at possible legal action that we can take against, of course in relation with other agencies of government, when evidence and information are sufficient to warrant filing of cases and finally to name a few is for the presentation of the draft of the executive order that will put to forth the national task force for ending insurgency,” he said.
Arevalo said the task force aims to harmonize the government effort to address the problem on insurgency in the country.
“The AFP’s proposed creation of this National Task Force to End Insurgency does not seek to obtain additional budget for the AFP or for the military to cause burden to our people, the NTFEI’s primary purpose is to integrate and to harmonize all efforts of government agencies that are determined to solve the lingering issues that drive armed conflict,” he said. Robina Asido/DMS