Former priest and current Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. on Saturday said he would not be surprised if some groups dissatisfied with President Duterte would stage a “coup,” but he stressed that these people would not succeed.
Evasco said generals included in Mr. Duterte’s drug matrix, businesses affected by the government’s drive against contractualization, and businessmen with interests in the United States would naturally be angry at the President.
“Do you think they will be happy? All of those who will be dislocated by Mr. Duterte will look for an armed component to throw him out of power one of these days,” he said in a press conference.
“That’s what you call a coup d’etat. But I tell you, if you are thinking and planning to do that, I will tell you you will fail,” he added.
Speaking on Friday, September 30, during the induction ceremony of new officers of Zamboanga del Norte United Correspondents (ZNUC) – a group of local media practitioners here, Evasco said that no amount of talking would bring about destabilization. Plotters, he said, “have to have an armed component” to pursue their plans.
“So karon, sigi silang pagkumbinsi sa military ug pulis, kini si (Senator Antonio) Trillanes (IV), nga mo-apil sa ilang kausa pagpukan ni Duterte,” Evasco said. (Now, they are convincing the military and police, this Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, to join in their cause to topple Duterte.)
The Cabinet secretary explained that the so-called elite in Manila identified with the Liberal Party could not accept that they would be defeated by somebody who comes from Mindanao.
“That’s because they look down on us, they did not know that our minds were molded by our experiences, our studies, and our outlook of life that the elite don’t have,” Evasco said.
He added that the elite group first tried to destroy Duterte at the grassroots level by using the media, riding on issues of summary killings, extrajudicial killings, and the burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos.
“Sad to say, there are a lot of media practitioners who succumbed to the temptation of money. And we are talking of millions of pesos here,” Evasco said.
Evasco also said that those who are against Duterte are now saying he is a communist to scare people and entice the military and police to join them by engaging in armed adventurism.
“But I want to tell you, my people in Dapitan and Zamboanga del Norte, they will fail, because anything you do – if it benefits the people – it will never be toppled down,” Evasco said.
Trillanes dismissed the allegation as “absolutely not true.” He said they were “nothing but misdirection from the political backlash the Duterte administration has been getting as a result of its bloody war on drugs.”
Trillanes also said, “President Duterte brought the crisis upon himself when he started killing his own people. It was made worse by the series of diplomatic blunders and controversial statements by the President himself.”