The Philippine Army has today (Tuesday, August 22) denied any links with a group calling itself the “Patriotic and Democratic Movement” (PADEM) — which is seeking to topple President Duterte.
Army spokesman Brigadier General Restituto Padilla described the group’s agenda as “unconstitutional and politically motivated”.
He said: “The AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) categorically denies the recent statement issued by a group that pretends to be representative of the men and women of the AFP and the PNP (Philippine National Police) that calls itself the Patriotic and Democratic Movement (PADEM).”
Yesterday, PADEM released a statement accusing the president of “treating the AFP and the PNP as these were his private armies and practising favouritism and violating professional and service standards in the promotion and assignment of officers.”
The group also alleged that the president had incited police to commit extrajudicial killings; allowed Beijing to occupy the South China Sea; bungled the Marawi City crisis, and favoured certain Chinese businessmen and relatives and friends in the awarding of government contracts using loans from China.
The group also alleged that the government had condoned and protected top-level drug lords — including his son, Davao Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte — while “inciting police officers to engage in extrajudicial killings of poor suspected illegal drug users and pushers by publicly telling officers to plant evidence and by guaranteeing their pardon and promotion in case of conviction”.
The group’s statement continued: “We pledge to work for the withdrawal of military and police support for Duterte and his administration in conjunction with mass mobilisation of the Filipino people in millions to manifest their demand for the resignation or ouster of Duterte and his administration.”
The self-declared military representatives also said that the president had been corrupting the AFP and PNP through monetary rewards.
They also said that the president should be toppled “for betraying public trust in violation of national sovereignty and democratic rights of the people.”
The statement was signed by a certain Antonio Bonifacio.
Brig. Gen. Padilla described the accusations raised by the group as “unfounded and uncalled for”.
He said: “Such issues are clearly politically motivated and a matter that the AFP does not and will not subscribe to.”
Padilla also said that the military would not hesitate to act against any forces that undermined the stability and security of the nation through unconstitutional means.
“Current developments and issues that this group wishes to take advantage of is now being addressed by the Department of Justice and parties to a possible crime are now under detention.
“Let us respect these processes and not allow ourselves to be used by individuals or groups with vested interests. We appeal for sobriety, reason and patience as we await the results of these processes” he said.
“The AFP appeals to the public and the various political groups to respect the apolitical stance of the AFP and help bring unity and healing instead of fomenting divisiveness and collapse.”
“The AFP, however, will not hesitate in acting against forces who shall undermine the stability and security of our country and those who wish to destabilise our nation thru unconstitutional means,” he said.