Philippines calls for probe into alleged plot by former US envoy to oust Duterte

Former US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg allegedly left a "blueprint" for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's ouster or a "recommendation to the US State Department for the removal of the Philippine President from office".
Former US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg allegedly left a "blueprint" for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's ouster or a "recommendation to the US State Department for the removal of the Philippine President from office".PHOTO: AFP

MANILA (PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) -Philippine's parliament Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has called for an investigation into an alleged plot by former US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a report on Tuesday by the Manila Times, Goldberg allegedly left a "blueprint" for Duterte's ouster or a "recommendation to the US State Department for the removal of the Philippine President from office".

The US State Department has denied there was any such plot.

But Alvarez, speaker of the House of Representatives, said in a statement: "If true, this has serious consequences not only on our country's political stability but also on the economic and social fabric of our nation. It would also have grave repercussions on our relationship with the United States. 

"In view of this serious allegation I am calling for a congressional investigation to find out if there is basis to this reported ouster plot against President Rodrigo Duterte," he added.

Alvarez also added that at any rate, the alleged ouster plot against Duterte constituted a violation of Philippine sovereignty.

"That is anathema to the gospel of democracy the US government, especially under the administration of President Obama, has been preaching to the world," Alvarez said.

Among the strategies in the supposed Goldberg "blueprint" includes the political and economic isolation of the Philippines, blackmailing neighbouring countries so they would turn against Duterte and reduce the trade with the country, and it is said to call on the US government to employ a socio-economic-political-diplomatic combination against Duterte "to bring him to his knees and eventually remove him from office."

"Removing him from office won't be such a big thing for President Duterte. But I'm sure he would not stand idly when he sees our people suffering if our economy crumbles as a result of such US machinations," Alvarez said.

At Malacañang palace, Duterte's spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the US State Department had already denied participation in a supposed plot to unseat the President.

"The President continues to enjoy the trust of the people and… (they) apparently appreciate what he's doing," Abella told a news briefing.

He also pointed out that Goldberg himself purportedly admitted that ousting Duterte would be "difficult."

Asked if he agreed with the former US ambassador's assessment, Abella said: "I don't have any opinion. I'm just a spokesperson. I don't need to agree."

Despite the spiraling drug killings in the country, Duterte has kept his popularity as he registered "excellent" ratings in recent surveys.