'Totally unnecessary' for Palace to prove alleged Duterte ouster martix – Panelo

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 1) — The Palace on Wednesday said it is not their responsibility to show proof to back its claim that journalists, news organizations, and lawyers are conspiring to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.

"Those named in the matrix demand proof of their participation in the ouster plot. Such is totally unnecessary. The matrix shows that there is an ouster plot," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

The statement from Malacañang came after fact-checking group VERA Files pointed out that the Palace has not come up with anything to back up their allegation. The Palace earlier tagged VERA Files, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Rappler, National Union of Peoples' Lawyers, and journalists Ellen Tordesillas and Maria Ressa in the alleged destabilization plot.

Panelo added that if the ouster plot leads to "overt acts punishable by law," that's when they will file cases against the said personalities critical of the Duterte administration.

"It is only when the cases are filed in court that proof will be submitted to substantiate the criminal charges," he said.

He added they did not violate any laws by publicizing the supposed ouster matrix, denying they are silencing those who express dissent.

"The revelation on the ouster plot is pursuant to the people's right to information... It is therefore the constitutional duty of the Administration to report to our countrymen the presence of groups which are motivated to unseat their President whom they have given the mandate to govern," the spokesperson said.