Palace gives Robredo ‘benefit of the doubt’ over oust calls

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte shares some light moments with Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo during the 38th Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) Commencement Exercises for 'Masidlak' Class of 2017 at Camp General Mariano N. Castañeda in Silang, Cavite Friday (March 24, 2017). (Photo by Marcelino Pascua/PPD Malacañang)

MANILA — Malacañang said Friday it is giving Vice President Leni Robredo the benefit of the doubt as she denied supporting any call for President Rodrigo Duterte to step down.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement, a day after Robredo distanced herself from the mass action set on Saturday, three days ahead of the 34th anniversary of the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution on February 25.

Baka naman nagsasabi siya ng totoo (Perhaps, she’s telling the truth). Let’s give her the benefit of the doubt,” Panelo said in an interview with Palace reporters.

Robredo, who has been a staunch critic of some of the current administration’s policies, clarified on Thursday that she is not part of the groups that would stage mass protests against Duterte.

Her clarification came after she received reports about people hatching a plan to oust Duterte.

Robredo said she does not seek Duterte’s removal from office, as she wants him to do his job as the country’s highest elected official.

‘Good luck’

Calls for Duterte’s ouster came days before the anniversary of the 1986 bloodless revolution that ousted the late president Ferdinand Marcos.

Unfazed by the supposed plot to unseat Duterte, Panelo merely wished coup plotters good luck.

At alam mo ‘yung mga panawagan na iyan, wala ‘yun (You know, such calls are nothing). It will never see the light of day. Good luck to them,” he said.

Last week, communist movement founder Jose Maria Sison claimed that those who are staging a coup d’etat against Duterte are “quite a number” of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) officials who were “assets” of the United States (US) Defense Intelligence Agency and Central Intelligence Agency and are “loyal to their pocketbooks rather than to the Filipino people.”

Sison alleged that Duterte has “aroused” pro-US AFP officials to remove him from office due to his termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between Manila and Washington DC.

However, AFP Chief-of-Staff, Gen. Felimon Santos Jr., denied speculations that some military officers have opposed Duterte’s abrogation of the VFA.

Reports also noted that a certain “Bunyog” is calling for the ouster of Duterte.  Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos/PNA –

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