DND, AFP deny withdrawing support for Duterte
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Sunday denied that some active and retired military officers are withdrawing their support to President Rodrigo Duterte.
"We denounce the irresponsible propaganda being propagated in online posts alleging that a group of retired and active military officers are withdrawing their support for the President," Lorenzana said.
"This is fake news! I am not, and will never be, a part of any such group -- neither are the officials at the Department of National Defense, many of whom are also retired military officers," he added.
Lorenzana said such disinformation is an act of reckless agitation emanating from detractors, who have a limited and myopic appreciation of issues.
"We call on these destabilizers to cease from propagating malicious statements especially at a time when our people should all be coming together in the face of the challenges that we are all currently facing. You are not helping our country and people at all," he said.
In a separate statement, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief General Cirilito Sobejana said the allegations came after a message made rounds in social media about "warplanes" from various countries taking off and landing in their Clark Airbase.
"We have issued statement dismissing that SMS as fake news. No such landings or taking off of aircraft from other countries are taking place. The AFP is on normal alert as opposed to the claim of that spurious sender," he said.
"It is obvious that the motive of these malicious posts is to create panic and confusion. We advise the public to remain calm and dismiss them as another disinformation," he added.
Sobejana dismissed the alleged existence of a Viber group with claimed membership from among senior and junior officers both active and retired.
"We assure our people that your soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines are firmly behind the chain-of-command," he said.
Sobejana said if in the future such a group will be created, he will disavow the "presence or association of officers and enlisted personnel to a group of such mindset."
"The AFP is a professional organization committed to safeguard democracy and protect its democratic institutions," he said.
"We will focus on our mission and continue to perform our constitutional mandates. We will veer away, as we appeal to all quarters to spare your AFP from partisan politics," he added.
The AFP chief said the nation is already facing numerous challenges and they should not be distracted with any propaganda. Ella Dionisio/DMS