VP Robredo: 'Red October' claim an attempt to silence critics

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 25) — Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday condemned the military's attempt to tag her in the alleged plot to overthrow President Rodrigo Duterte.

"Baseless allegations that link my involvement in legitimate opposition activities with illegal actions, particularly when they come from high-ranking military officials, undermine not just the opposition but also our democracy," she said in a statement.

Top officials from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said the Communist Party of the Philippines is working with the opposition — particularly the political party Liberal Party, Robredo, Senator Antonio Trillanes, and groups Tindig Pilipinas and Movement Against Tyranny — to hatch Duterte's ouster dubbed "Red October."

Citing classified documents seized during anti-insurgency operations, military officials claim the CPP-NPA is pushing for a strategic alliance with government critics to oust Duterte.

Robredo said the baseless accusations is reminiscent of how critics were silenced during former President Ferdinand Marcos' martial law.

"We must recall that branding critics as criminals was the same draconian tactic employed by the martial law legime to strip the opposition of its voice. And that this silencing of the opposition was a prelude to establishing a regime of corruption, abuse, and dictatorship," she said.

She said the opposition plays a critical role in upholding democracy in the country. She added the AFP should defend the Constitution regardless of personal affiliations.

"Recent allegations by key leaders of the AFP regarding a supposed plot to oust the President would be laughable if they were not so dangerous. For while the claims themselves are absolutely ridiculous, the attempt to delegitimize various opposition groups and personalities by linking them to an alleged extra-constitutional 'plot' is alarming," she said.

Duterte on September 12 said there's an alleged plot to sabotage and assassinate him. He said he has audio evidence that Sison, the Magdalo group, and other critics are in constant communication to plot his ouster. He added he will ask the "foreign country sympathetic to us" that gave him the information to declassify the intel.

Duterte also talked about a supposed ouster plot after his arrival from his Middle East trip early this month. But Defense Chief Delfin Lorenzana said the ouster "rumors" are up for verification.

CPP leader Joma Sison has confirmed the communist group is determined to remove Duterte from power, but he denied conniving with Robredo, Trillanes, and groups from the opposition. He dared Duterte to release proof communist rebels are banding with the opposition to destabilize the government.