As long as nothing happens: Palace treats Pulong’s release of ‘Oust Duterte’ matrix with kid gloves

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Malacañang on Monday said there is no need to conduct a probe on the list of individuals and groups that are allegedly conspiring to oust President Rodrigo R. Duterte which his son, former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo “Pulong” Duterte, posted on social media.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this remark after the presidential son posted a so-called “Oust Duterte Movement” list on his personal Facebook account.

The list, which has now been deleted, included Vice President Leni Robredo, former government officials, members of the church, journalists and militant groups, among others.

“We’ve been hearing conspiracies from the start of the [term of the] President and I’ve been saying that is natural for the opposition to conspire to oust the President,” Panelo told reporters in an interview after the regular Palace briefing.

“If they perceive him to be a bad President, then it’s their duty as far as they’re concerned to conspire,” he added, but noted that the Palace will not allow any act that violates the Constitution.

Panelo, however, said conspiracies mean nothing if the people behind it do not make plans to carry it out.

“Even if there are conspiracies, if there are no overt acts to pursue that conspiracy the government will not mind,” Panelo said.

He said he will also ask the former Vice Mayor to explain the reason
behind releasing such list.

Palace may also consider asking law enforcement or national security authorities to verify the alleged plot if there should be a formal request made, he added.

Freedom of expression

Panelo said Palace respected the former Vice Mayor’s release of the list, noting that it is part of his “freedom of expression” and that
personalities mentioned there could always refute the allegations.

“First, we are not privy to the list issued by the former Vice Mayor. Number two, the President always respects the freedom of expression,” Panelo said.

“The [former] Vice Mayor then might have some reasons for issuing such a list, we do not know. And anybody who feels aggrieved, they can always refute the allegations contained on the list. That is the
beauty of democracy,” he added.

Asked if the President had plans to speak to his son, Panelo said the
President does not talk to any of his children about matters with respect to their principled positions or political decisions.

“He respects the decision, the stand of the children. Malalaki na sila e (They’re already adults),” Panelo said, noting that the former Vice Mayor is “competent enough” to explain his actions.

Presidential son

Panelo also pointed out that it was the younger Duterte’s right to react to attempts to oust his father.

“The former Vice Mayor is a son and all sons will react to any plot, any conspiracy that he perceives to be against the father. So, it is his right to react to certain things that he knows that we do not know0 of,” Panelo said.

“That is his right, we cannot deprive this person of expressing his sentiment especially because he is a son and all sons have the right to defend, to neutralize any attempt to discredit or assault the reputation and integrity of a father,” he added.

Meanwhile, he expressed confidence anew that any attempt to overthrow the Duterte government will not succeed given the President’s high trust and approval ratings and strong relationship with military and police personnel.

“Given the popularity rating of the President, no coup or conspiracy will succeed. The PNP (Philippine National Police) and military are in support of the President as well as majority of the Filipinos,” Panelo said. (PNA

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