Duterte says he won't react to alleged ouster plots, then talks about it

By Alexis Romero

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In this Oct. 2, 2017 photo, President Rodrigo Duterte, on his sixth visit to Marawi City, led the inauguration of the Bahay Pag-asa Project at Barangay Bito Buadi Itowa that is intended for the residents of Marawi who were internally displaced due to the conflict in the area. The President also tagged along actor Robin Padilla to provide entertainment to the soldiers. Robinson Niñal Jr./Presidential Photo
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte dared the communists, Liberal Party and other groups who want to oust him to join forces even as he vowed to refrain from reacting to the alleged destabilization plots against him.
 
“Gusto ko lang malaman ninyo na ‘wag na muna ako diyan sa mga criticisms sa mga (Sen. Antonio) Trillanes thing, itong mga yellow, itong mga Reds (I’d like you to know that I will not react to the Trillanes thing, the yellows and the Reds),” Duterte said Thursday during the inauguration of the newly renovated press briefing room in Malacañang.
 
“I would be happy really if they would start to merge into one command, the communists and the Liberal (Party). These are the groups that want to oust me. Merge as one group,” he added.
 
READ: Duterte's ouster claim ‘fake, floated to deflect issues’
 
Yellow is associated with the Liberal Party, the ruling political group during the presidency of Benigno Aquino III. Red has been identified with the communist rebels and their political allies.
 
“I think you share the same ideological whatever para hindi na masyadong mag-kalat ang ano (so that you won’t be spreading too much) - we can focus on all of you,” Duterte said.
 
“This is no threat. I said it is my mandated duty to keep this country safe and sound. And the only way I can do it is I have to build a strong Army and police,” he added.
 
Earlier this month, Solicitor General Jose Calida said “yellows,” “reds” and some members of the clergy are seeking to oust Duterte but did not say who were behind the plot.
 
“Before it was the yellow, now they changed the color to white. Now there are also the reds coming in. Members of the clergy are joining the fray,” Calida said in a press conference last October 4.
 
“I warn them that they will not succeed,” he added.
 
READ: Calida: People from different colors, not just yellows, plotting to oust Duterte
 
The president has accused Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales of allowing themselves to be used by groups who are out to destabilize his administration.
 
Duterte has backed the impeachment of the two officials, raising concerns among some sectors who believe that he is undermining the independence of the judiciary and the ombudsman.
 
The president hurled tirades at Sereno and Morales as the ombudsman is probing allegations that he has billions in undeclared wealth.
 
Duterte has denied the allegation and has expressed willingness to resign if proven that he has more than P40 million in his bank accounts.

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