Linking opposition to Red October plot ‘politicizes the AFP’ – Robredo

Mara Cepeda
Linking opposition to Red October plot ‘politicizes the AFP’ – Robredo
Vice President Leni Robredo reminds the Armed Forces of the Philippines that branding critics as criminals was the 'same draconian tactic' imposed during Martial Law

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo said military officials who have been linking her and the political opposition to the supposed “Red October” ouster plot against President Rodrigo Duterte are politicizing the Armed Force of the Philippines (AFP). 

On Tuesday, September 25, the Vice President tagged as “baseless allegations” several military officials’ statements over the weekend that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is allegedly hatching an ouster plot against the President.

The alleged plan to unseat Duterte is supposed to be orchestrated by CPP founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison.

“Baseless allegations that link my involvement in legitimate opposition activities with illegal actions, particularly when they come from high ranking military officials, undermine not just the opposition but also our democracy,” said Robredo.

“They politicize the AFP, subvert Constitutional protections, and weaken a crucial mechanism for ensuring public accountability,” added the Vice President.

What did the military say? According to Brigadier General Antonio Parlade, assistant deputy chief of staff for operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, there was a plot to oust Duterte last Friday, September 21, when various opposition groups staged protests in key cities nationwide for the 46th anniversary of the Martial Law declaration.

According to a Philippine Star report, Parlade said in an ANC interview that the September 21 ouster plan supposedly failed because Tindig Pilipinas backed out of its plan to join forces with communist groups after finding out that CPP leaders were behind the ouster plot. 

The military officer further claimed that the LP, of which Robredo is chairperson, and the Trillanes-led Magdalo wanted to “align” themselves with the plot to oust Duterte. 

On Monday, the military mentioned another supposed ouster plot hatched by the rebels called “Oplan Talsik.”

 It was Duterte himself who first claimed that the once-ruling Liberal Party (LP), of which Robredo is chairperson, the communists, and embattled senator Antonio Trillanes IV are planning to oust him by October. The opposition groups also denied this. 

But the claim was already denied by Robredo’s spokesperon Barry Gutierrez, as well as leaders of groups under Tindig Pilipinas, Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano and Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin. 

What is Robredo’s message to the AFP? She said that branding critics as criminal was the “same draconian tactic” imposed during the iron-fist rule of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos during Martial Law. 

The Vice President then reminded the AFP to defend democracy and uphold the Constitution.

“This silencing of the opposition was a prelude to establishing a regime of corruption, abuse, and dictatorship. Our men and women in the AFP must be reminded of their sworn duty: protect our people, defend our democracy and uphold our Constitution,” said Robredo. 

“Our men and women in the AFP took the same oath as me to uphold and defend the Constitution. Our first responsibility is to maintain fidelity to this commitment, regardless of any personal affiliations,” she added. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.