MANILA, Philippines – Some Filipino-Americans in New York are hatching a plan to oust President Duterte by January 2017, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar claimed yesterday.
He said a Cabinet member, who is in New York and whom he refused to identify, was told of the plan by another Fil-Am who attended the same function.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. and presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella are both in New York.
“I was just talking to somebody in New York now who is also a member of the Cabinet – I won’t mention his name. But he also heard of the Fil-Ams in New York who are planning. They are hatching a plan to oust the President by January 2017. There is this kind of report,” Andanar said on radio dzRH.
He added that he even asked the official if he has evidence to prove it or if this is another hearsay.
“There are stories, there are speculations. But at the same, the surveys will show otherwise because Filipinos in the Philippines are like what you said – more than 90 percent support our President. But then again, if you have all of this news going around internationally, it does not help,” Andanar said.
He said any destabilization initiative would not help the government, considering that Duterte is also being criticized for the extrajudicial killings brought about by the anti-illegal drugs campaign.
“We are not doing well when it comes to media exposure,” Andanar said in Filipino.
Although the oust Duterte plan is unverified, Andanar said he has cautioned the official to check on it since that kind of story is not to be dismissed as a joke.
“It’s really about the evidence that you have, isn’t it? (If there is) you let me know (because) it is the concern for the government and it should be a concern for the nation because it’s a destabilization talk,” Andanar said.
“We will never condone any unlawful killings,” he said in reaction to a European Union statement criticizing the manner the war on drugs was being conducted.
Earlier, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano talked of a Plan B of the Liberal Party that supposedly intended to oust Duterte and install Vice President Leni Robredo as the new president.
He said it centers on discrediting the Duterte administration especially in relation to the number of killings that has reached more than 3,000 in the war against illegal drugs.
Robredo and the LP described Cayetano’s disclosures as “farfetched.”
Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque had warned about the possible plot of the United States to unseat Duterte.
Roque cited Duterte’s scathing remarks against US President Barack Obama before they met in the ASEAN summit in Laos early this month, and the “coincidence” of a purported witness pinning down Duterte over alleged summary killings.
“The Senate testimony came immediately after the President confirmed he wanted to pursue an independent foreign policy,” Roque observed, referring to Sen. Leila de Lima’s witness, alleged self-confessed Davao death squad member Edgar Matobato.
“It is too much of a coincidence that the testimony intended to pave the way for his ouster came immediately after President Duterte declared his independent stance,” said Roque.
Another factor Roque raised was the background of US Ambassador Philip Goldberg, who has not yet been replaced despite Duterte’s bias against him when he criticized him over the rape-slay of a female Australian missionary in the Davao jail 1988, which was made during the campaign period.
“Remember that US Ambassador Goldberg was kicked out of Bolivia for stirring a coup,” Roque disclosed, noting that “Bolivian President Evo Morales expelled Goldberg out of the country in 2008.”
The Bolivian government likewise declared Goldberg “persona non grata for conspiring against democracy and seeking the division of Bolivia.”
The US State Department and the US-based Human Rights Watch have expressed grave concern over the spate of extrajudicial killings in the nearly three-month-old Duterte administration.
Both said an inquiry is necessary to determine if human rights of innocent persons have been violated, and they also commended the investigation conducted by De Lima, chairperson of the Senate committee on human rights.
Bolivia’s President Evo Morales
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) urged yesterday the European Parliament to obtain official data on the Philippine situation and the intensified anti-crime and anti-illegal drugs campaign for the sake of “fair” and “accurate” representation.
The DFA said the European Union is an important partner of the Philippines and the group’s role in the region is also becoming more prominent, especially for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and various regional and international issues.
The European Parliament condemned on Thursday the current wave of extrajudicial executions and killings in the Philippines and urged the government to put an end to this.
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) expressed concern over the “extraordinarily high numbers killed during police operations in the context of an intensified anti-crime and anti-drug campaign.”
“The European Parliament is the only directly elected institution among the EU institutions, representing the democratic ideals of the EU,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said.
“In the same spirit, we urge the members of the EU Parliament to obtain official data as to what is happening in the Philippines, for the sake of fair and accurate representation,” he said.
Jose said the Philippines welcomes the sharing of best practices of the EU in order to combat illegal drugs in the Philippines.
He assured the international community that the Philippine government remains firmly committed to upholding the international conventions on human rights, labor rights, good governance and the protection of the environment.
During the Parliament Debate in Brussels on Thursday, the MEPs noted that drug trafficking and drug abuse in the Philippines remain a serious national and international concern.
The MEPs understood that millions of people are hurt by the high level of drug addiction and its consequences in the country, but expressed alarm at a Philippine National Police (PNP) report that a thousand suspected drug pushers and users were killed and more than 15,000 arrested from July 1 to Sept. 4, 2016.
“MEPs urge the Philippines government to put an end to the current wave of extrajudicial executions and killings, launch an ‘immediate investigation’ into them and adopt specific, comprehensive policies and programs, in full compliance with national and international obligations and respect for human rights,” according to a statement released following the debate.
The European Parliament is an important forum for political debate and decision-making at the EU level. The MEPs are directly elected by voters in all member-states to represent the people’s interests with regard to EU lawmaking and to make sure other EU institutions are working democratically.
The parliament is made up of 751 members elected in the 28 member-states of the enlarged EU. It sees its role not only in promoting democratic decision-making in Europe but also in supporting the fight for democracy, human rights, freedom of speech and fair elections across the globe. – With Pia Lee-Brago, Delon Porcalla, Christina Mendez
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Morales condemns ‘attempted coup’ after Bolivia minister’s murder
“The national government has defeated an attempted coup. I’m convinced of that,” he told reporters in Cochabamba on Saturday. “The rightwingers were there.”
On Friday, he slammed the miners’ actions: “This is a political conspiracy, not a social demand.”
Although exports of natural gas bring more money into Bolivia, mining — mainly silver and tin — runs through the history, politics and social backbone of the Andean country, which is now trying to become a big producer of lithium.
“The prices of minerals have gone down and the costs of production have increased,” said opposition leader Samuel Doria Medina. “That is the cause of the protest.”
After protesting for days, last week the miners used rocks to block a highway 180km south of La Paz. Wielding shovels and sticks of dynamite, they demanded to be allowed to work for private companies in order to earn more money, while also rejected the creation of labour unions within their co-operatives.
On Wednesday, two protesters were killed in clashes with the police, heightening tensions. A third died one day later. “They were trying to arm-wrestle the government [in order] to have labour contracts with private mining companies, be it national or foreign,” explains a Bolivian mining expert who helped draft the mining law. “The government in its socialist vision cannot allow that, but they underestimated them.”
Illanes travelled to the area of the protests in the town of Panduro to negotiate with the angry miners who had, by then, blocked several roads. On Thursday, his body was found, thrown on the side of the road and his car burnt. An autopsy determined he died from trauma to the brain and thorax after being beaten.
The blockade was lifted on Friday and several miners were arrested. A day later, Bolivian prosecutors accused three miners of the murder of Mr Illanes, including Carlos Mamani, head of the national federation of co-operative miners.
“The Bolivian people, the social movements, all fought to recover the national resources. But some co-operative miners are asking to be like little-republics to be able to sign contracts [with companies],” said Mr Morales. “I hereby declare brother Illanes as a hero defender of natural resources.”
The Bolivian people, the social movements, all fought to recover the national resources. But some co-operative miners are asking to be like little-republics– Evo Morales
Since Mr Morales came to power in 2006, Bolivian mining has moved towards a more dominant role for the state. On his watch, several foreign interests were nationalised — including some assets of commodities group Glencore — and only a handful of foreign-owned mines remain, including the vital San Cristóbal which is owned by Japan’s Sumitomo.
Nevertheless, co-operatives continued to be a strong force, employing about 90 per cent of the roughly 140,000 miners working in Bolivia. The co-operatives offer what can be precarious work to impoverished miners who would otherwise not have jobs.
Their ranks have been swelled by waves of lay-offs from more established mining operations, and the commodities boom of the past decade also increased their numbers. Now lower mineral prices are making it more difficult for them to make a living. This could spark further anger, tarnishing Bolivia’s social transformation under Mr Morales.
Last year, Potosí miners, angry at what they see as a lack of investment by the government, organised a blockade that cut the city off for weeks. Then, dynamite-bearing miners also marched on La Paz, taking on the vice-ministry of the interior.
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