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AFP looking into reports of coup plot vs Duterte

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the AFP has yet to check the origin and credibility of the alleged coup reports. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is taking seriously reports of a coup plot against President Duterte, who said yesterday he would retire from politics when his term ends in 2022.

Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the AFP has yet to check the origin and credibility of the alleged coup reports.

“News about these seeming disturbances within the military are unknown to us, but these are things that we take seriously, so we will look into it,” the AFP spokesman told reporters.

Padilla said the President has been prioritizing the welfare of the soldiers.

“After the President prioritized visiting various military camps to communicate with the soldiers, all our soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors gave our commander-in-chief a warm reception, and the interaction between him and the armed forces at those instances was good,” Padilla said in Filipino.

But he refused to comment on the President’s pronouncement on the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the United States. He said the AFP is just waiting for formal instructions from the Office of the President.

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“As cited by the President’s spokesman himself, all statements from the President must be formally conveyed to us. So, we are holding our comment on that, pending formal instruction or official statement from the President,” Padilla said.

“The Armed Forces is seeking clarification regarding this (EDCA), and we have communicated to the Department of National Defense that until such time that we get clarification on the statement, we cannot comment on it,” he added.

Asked if the Philippines can defend its territory without US help, Padilla said the armed forces have their own capabilities to face present threats.

“The current status of our country is we are friends with all our neighbors; we abide by the constitutional policy of always prioritizing peace, and that’s exactly what we are doing; so, within the scope of our capabilities, we are able to protect our interest at the moment,” Padilla said.

Duterte to retire in 2022

Duterte said yesterday he would retire from politics after he leaves Malacañang in 2022.

“Elections come and go as we all know, and this (presidency) would be my last fling with public service,” Duterte said in a speech during the opening of the 37th Masskara Festival in Bacolod City on Sunday. “I am old, and after this, I am going to retire.”

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