MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang Sunday refuted the claim of cause-oriented group Tindig Pilipinas that President Rodrigo Duterte is “paranaoid” and accused the group of peddling “lies to push a selfish agenda.”
Tindig Pilipinas, whose members include former officials of the previous administration, has assailed Duterte for threatening to set up a revolutionary government if the country plunges into chaos because of the supposed destabilization efforts against him.
The group claimed that Duterte was “losing his grip” and called him a “paranoid and insecure little man afraid of losing power.” It also accused the president of threatening to “annihilate” democracy as it urged “democratic forces” to resist alleged efforts to subvert the nation for his interests.
Presidential Communications Secretary Marin Andanar denied that Duterte was paranoid and lashed at the group for supposedly spreading lies.
“That’s their opinion and we don’t share it. We have been working closely with the president and we can assure you that his mind is sound. These sorts of comments from his detractors only take away attention from more vital issues of the state,” Andanar said in a statement.
Andanar claimed that Duterte would not be distracted by the criticisms hurled at him.
“We’re confronted with threats all around from possible conflict in North Korea to terrorism from within in addition to natural calamities and criminality. Tindig is spreading lies to push a selfish agenda but this will not weaken the resolve of the president to carry out what he promised to do,” he said.
Andanar said Duterte would continue to work to reduce crime and corruption and provide better services to the poor. He said the President would also “raise the country’s international reputation by showing it cannot be cowed into accepting agreements against its best interests.”
Last week, Duterte dared the communists, the political opposition and other anti-government groups to join forces and to carry out their ouster plot against him.
“I would be happy really if they would start to merge into one command, the communists and the Liberal (Party). These are the groups that want to oust me. Merge as one group,” he said during the inauguration of the new Malacañang press briefing room last October 12.
“I think you share the same ideological whatever para hindi na masyadong mag-kalat ang ano (so that you won’t be spreading too much) – we can focus on all of you,” he added.
Earlier this month, Solicitor General Jose Calida claimed that “yellows,” “reds” and some members of the clergy are seeking to oust Duterte but did not reveal their identities.
“Before it was the yellow, now they changed the color to white. Now there are also the reds coming in. Members of the clergy are joining the fray,” Calida said in a press conference last Oct. 4.
“I warn them that they will not succeed,” he added.
Yellow is the campaign color of the Liberal Party, the ruling political group during the presidency of Benigno Aquino III. Red has been identified with the communists and their political allies.
Duterte has accused Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno of allowing themselves to be used by those behind the destabilization plot against him.
He has expressed support for the impeachment of the two officials, raising concerns among some groups who accuse him of eroding the independence of the ombudsman and the judiciary.
The president assailed Morales and Sereno as the ombudsman is investigating claims that he has billions in undeclared wealth, an allegation that he has described as “garbage.”
Duterte also accused Morales of “selective justice” for allegedly focusing on the accusations against him while sitting on other complaints.
Panelo may ask SC to stop ombudsman probe
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said he was considering asking the Supreme Court to stop the Office of the Ombudsman’s probe into the alleged undeclared wealth of Duterte.
Panelo said Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang had violated the law when he disclosed that his office would be looking into the claim that president has billions in hidden bank accounts.
“We will go to the Supreme Court to stop them,” Panelo told radio station dzBB Sunday.
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