By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo said Tuesday that the allegations linking her and the Liberal Party (LP) to the supposed “Red October” plot to unseat President Duterte as “laughable if they were not so dangerous.”
Robredo, who chairs the opposition LP, said she found the allegations made by military officials as alarming.
“For while the claims themselves are absolutely ridiculous, the attempt to delegitimize various opposition groups and personalities by linking them to an alleged extra-constitutional ‘plot,’” she said.
The Vice President said the allegations by military officials against them were “baseless,” which undermine not just the opposition but also the democracy in the country.
“A free, independent, and critical opposition plays an indispensable role in our democracy. It provides a necessary check on an incumbent administration – keeping it honest, responsive, and accountable – ultimately ensuring better governance and better service to our people,” she said.
“This is a principle protected and enshrined in our Constitutionally-guaranteed rights to free speech and to petition the government for redress of grievances,” Robredo added.
Brigadier General Antonio Parlade, deputy chief of staff for operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), warned over the weekend that there exists a plot called “Red October” to remove Duterte from office.
He claimed that the LP and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and his Magdalo group wanted to align themselves with Tindig Pilipinas on the ouster plot against Duterte.
But Robredo said the military officials were politicizing the AFP for linking the opposition to Red October.
“They politicize the AFP, subvert Constitutional protections, and weaken a crucial mechanism for ensuring public accountability,” she said.
Robredo, a lawyer, said that branding critics as criminals was the “same draconian tactic” imposed during Martial Law under the Marcos dictatorship.
“This silencing of the opposition was a prelude to establishing a regime of corruption, abuse, and dictatorship,” she said.
The former housing chief reminded the AFP uniformed personnel about their oath to uphold and defend the Constitution.
“Our first responsibility is to maintain fidelity to this commitment, regardless of any personal affiliations,” Robredo said.
“Our men and women in the AFP must be reminded of their sworn duty: protect our people, defend our democracy and uphold our Constitution,” she stressed.