Duterte says critics conspiring to remove him

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Manila, Sep 11 (IANS) Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday claimed that there was a conspiracy to remove him from power, masterminded by opposition groups, the banned Communist Party of the Philippines and Magdalo, an organization formed by dissident former soldiers.

He claimed that he had evidence to back up his accusations, including the transcript of a telephone conversation between the alleged conspirators that was provided to him by a foreign ally, Efe news reported.

“You know, (CPC founder Jose Maria) Sison and this Magdalo (group) (…) including those who never liked me, those who have never accepted me since the election, they have combined,” Duterte said in a televised chat with his legal counsel.

Duterte said he would ask the document to be declassified, adding that Sison — who has been living in exile in the Netherlands for the last three decades — was directly involved in the conspiracy and added that he should be brought back to the Philippines and tried as a terrorist.

The President also dared Magdalo to start a mutiny or revolution against him and warned the armed forces against such influences and infighting.

Magdalo, a group formed more than a decade ago by dissident soldiers, is now a political group with a presence in the Congress and was led by Senator Antonio Trillanes, one of Duterte’s fiercest critics, between 2003 and 2008.

Trillanes, 47, has been holed up inside the Senate for a week now, trying to avoid arrest after Duterte revoked an amnesty he was granted by former President Benigno Aquino III in 2010 for his role in three failed coups between 2003 and 2007.



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