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Revolutionary government talk creating division — LP

MANILA, Philippines — The Liberal Party (LP) led by Vice President Leni Robredo and Sen. Francis Pangilinan told President Duterte yesterday they are ready to work with the administration as they warned that threats to set up a revolutionary government supposedly to quell destabilization efforts only create “unnecessary fear” and “division” among Filipinos.

Robredo slammed those who repeatedly link the LP, which she chairs, to alleged moves to oust Duterte as these are counter-productive.

Pangilinan, LP president, maintained the destabilization plots supposedly involving their party are “imaginary.”

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella and Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Maj. Restituto Padilla both said they are not privy to the information being cited by the President that would warrant a revolutionary government.

“They’ve been saying there’s destabilization. And the Liberal Party has been the whipping boy. I think this is a very unfair accusation, as you can see we spend all our time and efforts at work,” Robredo said on the sidelines of the first anniversary celebration for her office’s anti-poverty program Angat Buhay at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

Duterte last Friday said he would not hesitate to declare a revolutionary government to quell destabilization moves against his administration. He said former president Corazon Aquino did the same after the 1986 Edsa people power revolution.

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Duterte had accused the Reds or leftists and the “yellows” of LP of conspiring against him. The President even asked them to unite under one command.

The Vice President called the President’s allegation against the LP “baseless,” “irresponsible” and would not be of help given the country’s many problems.

“If they make such allegations, I hope they have solid basis,” she said.

“Their allegations only create division, it only complicates the situation. For me, with so many problems the country is facing now, it’s better if we unite and work together,” she said.

The Vice President also pointed out that criticizing some of the government’s policies does not mean that they do not want the administration to succeed.

For his part, Pangilinan said it would be best to focus on the rehabilitation of Marawi City now that terrorist leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute have been neutralized.

“The government is wasting its time by focusing on reports of destabilization that are coming from fake news,” Pangilinan said.

“It would be better if time is spent on something that will help the country, not cause more disruption. More income and jobs for the people, not more power to the presidency,” he added.

Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, an LP member, also said with the government’s victory in Marawi, the government could start rebuilding and developing the city and immediately lift martial law in Mindanao.

As a member of the Senate special committee on Marawi rehabilitation, Aquino said “we will fully support all efforts by the government to bring normalcy back to Marawi City and restore the city from the ravages of the fighting to its full glory.”

Dictatorship in the offing?

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) expressed belief dictatorship is in the offing but is sure it would not last long.

The CPP said Duterte’s apparent motive in wanting to establish a “revolutionary government until the end of (his) term” is to quell “all dissent and arrogate the power to remove every one in government and appoint only those people who will not criticize his rule.”

Duterte’s threats, the CPP claimed, “are indications of his growing desperation to cling to power” and that he is rushing to strengthen and consolidate his control of the military and police.

But the CPP said these cannot drown the growing clamor for him to be accountable for his actions.

Padilla said while the threat from the communist rebels is real, he does not have any information on their alleged destabilization links.

“Well, the truth is we only provide some part of what we monitor from our intelligence side. There are other agencies that monitor other parts of our archipelago, as well as other external stations,” Padilla said.

“The information that goes to the President is all encompassing… And we don’t have a hand in the information that the President may initially receive,” he said. 

Padilla said the AFP is not letting its guard down when it comes to terror threats even after the liberation of Marawi.

Abella said the “President has his own sources” whose information may not be directly available to others. 

“And so, as he speaks, he stands on his own personally considered evidence,” Abella said.

Abella said the President talked about the possibility of having a revolutionary government only if destabilization attempts would lead to anarchy. – With Artemio Dumlao, Christina Mendez

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