No loyalty check, but Duterte's schedules more on meeting military men
Since the "Red October" plot came out late last month, President Rodrigo Duterte seemed to frequently meet with the security officials as well as visiting military and police camps during the past weeks.
But Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in a press briefing on Thursday, said there was no need for Duterte to conduct loyalty check among the men in uniform.
"I wouldn't say that this is really a loyalty check. From the very beginning, it's really the President's priority to look after the welfare of the soldiers, that's his policy since day one in office," he said.
On Thursday, Duterte's schedules included the joint Armed Forces of the Philippines-Philippine National Police Command Conference and dinner with the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association, Inc. in Malacanang.
On October 2, Duterte visited the 803rd Brigade in Barangay Dalakit, Catarman, Northern Samar and on September 29, he went to 401st Brigade in Barangay Awa, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur.
On September 26, he was at Camp Vicente Lim, Calamba, Laguna; on September 24, he visited the wounded soldiers in Camp Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital in Jolo, Sulu; and on September 21, he was in Camp Evangelista Station Hospital in Barangay Patag, Cagayan de Oro City.
"Maybe that's not a loyalty check. But it is just the President sending the message that the soldiers are important and this is proven by his frequent visits to them," Roque said.
Duterte earlier said that the communist, opposition and Magdalo Group, a group of former mutineers, were allegedly conspiring to oust him.
Following Duterte's statement, the AFP leadership came out with the so-called "Red October" plot to oust the President.
The military even tagged some 18 colleges and universities in Metro Manila where the New People's Army was allegedly recruiting students.
The PNP and the AFP have said that they would coordinate with those schools.
Asked if this would pose a danger on the freedom of expression, Roque said, " I don’t think so. There was no order to curtail academic freedom. There’s no order to curtail freedom of expression."
"Everyone should learn by way of example from the President who has not only practiced ultimate tolerance on freedom of expression but has also practice maximum tolerance on peaceful assemblies for redress of grievances," he added. Celerina Monte/DMS