The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Wednesday dismissed predictions of a coup against President Rodrigo Duterte by Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison as nothing but rumour-mongering.
Sison said Duterte could face a coup from the military for thrashing the Philippines’ Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the US.
“Sison is hallucinating again,” AFP spokesperson Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said in a statement.
“He mistakes the AFP for his ragtag terrorist army–the NPA–where his orders are violated and he stands unsupported.
“You shouldn’t pay attention to those kinds of statements from Sison. You are just giving him and his statements undeserved credence. Those lines are expected. It should be ignored,” he said.
The president’s decision to end the VFA last week went against the advice given by his foreign and security officials to review the agreement instead of junking it.
Sison claimed over the weekend that Duterte’s decision to terminate the VFA “has aroused quite a number of pro-US military officers to talk against him . . . and talk about a coup”.
The communist leader further alleged that the officials planning the ouster were “assets” of the US defence intelligence apparatus and Central Intelligence Agency who remain “loyal to their pocketbooks rather than to the Filipino people”.
The VFA, ratified by the Philippine Senate in 1999, governs the conduct of visiting US soldiers and serves as the foundation for military exercises and humanitarian work.
The accord has allowed the AFP to conduct joint activities with the US that enhance its capability to counter national security threats. It also allowed US soldiers to aid in disasters and calamities quickly.
Sison said it would be “laudable” if Duterte would scrap all other military agreements with the US – the Mutual Defence Treaty, Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement and Mutual Logistics and Support Agreement.
“Scrapping all the military agreements with the US would truly assert national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“But this must be complemented by national industrialisation and genuine land reform to ensure the support of the Filipino people and their revolutionary movement,” said Sison.
PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK