Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said there was no truth behind the rumors that the military is withdrawing its support for President Duterte over the issue of alleged Chinese incursions into the West Philippine Sea.
Andanar made the statement after Twitter user Info Ops said there was a Viber group composed of almost 500 members discussing the supposed withdrawal of the military’s support for the Commander-in-Chief.
In a Facebook post, Andanar said there was no truth behind the rumors and branded it as a figment of the imagination of those who wanted the President out of Malacañang.
In a separate statement, the Palace official also said that the report being spread was false.
“This is FALSE,” Andanar said Sunday afternoon.
“I talked to [Defense] Secretary Delfin Lorenzana this morning and according to him, there is no truth to the claim that the military is withdrawing its support or no longer has confidence in the leadership of President Duterte,” he added.
According to the Palace official, the claim was not a reflection of the true sentiment of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and its personnel, both active and retired.
“This is an attempt to make it look like there is dissent or a movement within the military, dissatisfied with the President regarding the WPS when there is NONE,” he said.
“They are also trying to make it look like there is a groundswell of support when there isn’t any. In fact, this is a poor strategy to diminish the influence and popularity of President Duterte,” he added.
Andanar also said that the reports were a mere rehash of calls to “#OustDuterte” in 2017 and #DuterteResign” this year and were brought back to life because of the upcoming elections in 2022.
“Recycled black propagandas become more pervasive as election season nears,” he said.
“We continue to remind everyone to fact-check sources of information you read online, and help us dismiss disinformation,” he added.
Malacañang has assured Filipinos that President Duterte is undertaking measures to address the tension at the Julian Felipe Reef but said that his diplomatic initiatives cannot be disclosed to the public.
The Palace remained hopeful that the issue will be settled through the friendship that the Philippines has cultivated with China.