Duterte: Trillanes, De Lima, Robredo behind ouster plot

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President Duterte names three critics as those wanting him removed from office.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 23) — President Rodrigo Duterte names three of his staunchest critics as behind the move to boot him out of Malacañang.

Duterte told a national convention of lawyers in Pasay City Thursday evening that those behind an impeachment case against him were Sen. Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes, detained Sen. Leila de Lima and Vice President Leni Robredo.

"They want me ousted. Who's behind it? Itong si Trillanes, sundalo mabuti pang security guard ito [ soldier but better off as a security guard], and his ilk. Sino'ng isa? Si De Lima, gusto na nya akong paalisin. Wala naman akong ginawang exhibition," Duterte said, drawing laughter from the audience. [The other is De Lima, she wants me out, although I never done any exhibition.]

Related: Duterte faces impeachment complaint

Duterte, who just came from a four-day trip to Myanmar and Thailand, had also mocked at the two senators while abroad — telling the Filipino community there that Trillanes was a coward for swiftly surrendering during the 2003 "Oakwood mutiny" and that De Lima was "Satan's queen." 

Related: Marcos loyalists ask House to endorse impeachment rap vs. Robredo

Back in Pasay City, Duterte continued with his list of those moving to unseat him.

"Pangatlo si Leni. Natural bakit pa siya maghintay kung nandyan yung opportunity," Duterte said.

[Translation: Third is Leni (Robredo). Of course, why should she wait longer (to be president) if the opportunity now knocks.]

Related: Robredo: Dissenting voice but eyes not on presidency

Despite this, Duterte said he was thumbing down moves to oust Robredo from the vice presidency, since an impeachment rap had also been filed against her.

"We just have had the elections. It's too early to be ousting people," Duterte said — adding that he understood that Robredo also had to take a stand on issues, even if contrary to his.

"It's natural in politics," the President said.

Talks about unseating Duterte had been going around since late last year. Trillanes and Robredo had previously denied having a hand in any move to impeach Duterte. The Liberal Party, to which De Lima belongs, had also denied accusations that the "yellows" (referring to the Liberal Party's trademark color) were behind the impeachment rap against the president.