By Genalyn Kabiling
The military does not have to be “corny” and launch a coup attempt against President Duterte if it was unsatisfied with his performance, Malacañang said Monday.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the President has declared he would not cling to power and instead step down if he no longer enjoys the support of the people.
“Ang Presidente naman po ay hindi niya pinaggigiitan ang sarili niya sa Hukbong Sandatahan, kung ayaw talaga ng Hukbong Sandatahan. Ang sabi nga niya, huwag na tayong magpa-corny, huwag na kayong magku-coup. Sabihin ninyo lang sa akin, bababa ako (The President is not insisting himself on the Armed Forces if they don’t like him. He said, ‘We don’t have to be corny. You don’t have to launch a coup against me anymore. Just tell me and I will step down’)” Roque said in a radio interview.
The President earlier declared said he does not need the loyalty of the military and police, saying they should instead remain to the flag and the Constitution. Duterte maintained he has no problem stepping down from office if Filipinos do not support him anymore.
Duterte gave the statement when asked if he would conduct a loyalty check on the military and police amid rumors some members were concerned with revocation of amnesty given to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
Trillanes earlier claimed that some uniformed personnel have expressed support for him since they were “extremely bothered” and “conflicted” by Duterte’s amnesty recall.
Roque said Trillanes may have a “master’s [degree] in destabilization” but would unlikely get the military and police to support his cause.
He asserted that the President has carried out measures to improve the plight of soldiers and policemen, including doubling their salaries.
“Dahil ang Presidente lang ang tanging Presidente na talagang nakapangalaga ng mga interes ng ating mga kasundaluhan at kapulisan, dinoble ang kanilang mga sahod, ay mahihirapan po itong si Trillanes – bagama’t masters in destabilization siya – para makakuha ng suporta sa ating kasundaluhan at mga kapulisan (Because the President is the only President who truly cares for the welfare of our soldiers and policemen, he has increased their salaries, Trillanes will have difficult to get the support of the military and police despite his masters in destabilization),” he said.
Duterte earlier issued a proclamation voiding the amnesty given to Trillanes by the previous administration for failure to comply with minimum requirements. He also argued the amnesty granted to Trillanes was defective and fatally flawed since it was former Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, not then President Benigno Aquino III, who approved the amnesty.