DND, AFP deny alleged order to stop patrols in South China Sea

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 9) — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana denied the allegations posed by an opposition lawmaker that the President ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to cease patrolling contested waters.

Magdalo Partylist Representative Gary Alejano, in a press conference earlier Saturday, said that he received classified information that President Rodrigo Duterte had ordered the AFP to cease patrols in the disputed territories in the South China Sea.

"No such order was given," Lorenzana on Saturday told CNN Philippines when asked about the allegation.

AFP Public Affairs Office Chief Col. Edgar Arevalo corroborated Lorenzana's statement.

"For the record, there is no such order coming from the Commander-in-Chief. As a matter of fact, our maritime and aerial patrols continue-contrary to such information allegedly received by the Partlylist Congressman," Arevalo said in a statement.

Alejano refused to name the specific sources of his information, but said that they were military and Palace officials.

These anonymous officials of the armed forces, Alejano said, had raised concerns over the order, which compromises the contested territory with China.

"Isn't that an impeachable offense," Alejano said on the alleged order.

Alejano also said that Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano had only filed one diplomatic protest against China, and not "dozens".

READ: Duterte gov't filed 'dozens' of protests vs. China's activities in South China Sea, officials say

The lawmaker said that there was only one note verbale, which was brought to the residence of Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua on May 28.

CNN Philippines' Rex Remitio contributed to this story.