By Junex Doronio
April 18, 2021
MANILA — Stressing that it’s fake news, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Cirilito Sobejano on Sunday denounced the circulation of an alleged Viber group of retired and active military officials withdrawing their support for President Rodrigo Duterte.
The two officials thrashed it as “irresponsible propaganda.”
“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,” Lorenzana fumed in a statement.
He added: “Such disinformation is an act of reckless agitation emanating from detractors, who have a limited and myopic appreciation of issues.”
The DND chief called on the “destabilizers” to stop propagating malicious statements “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,” Lorenzana stressed.
For his part, Sobejano also denied the existence of the said group, adding that if such a group will ever be made, he “disavows the presence or association of officers and enlisted personnel to a group of such mindset.”
He said the claims came after another message made rounds in social media about warplanes from various countries taking off and landing in Clark Airbase.
“We have issued [a] statement dismissing that SMS as fake news,” Sobejano said.
“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,” the AFP chief added.
The so-called fake news said that hundreds of active and retired military officers are reportedly planning to withdraw support for President Rodrigo Roa Duterte over his silence about Beijing’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea.
The Twitter user @infopsph claimed there’s now a Viber group composed of over 500 active and retired military officers who want Duterte to speak up and condemn China’s actions in the disputed waters.
“The demand of the Viber 500 and the retired generals in Pres Duterte’s cabinet, except retired CSAFP Galvez, to denounce China’s invasion in the strongest possible terms is now impossible to ignore. A withdrawal of support is very imminent,” @infops tweeted April 15. (AI/MTVN)