Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacon said Tuesday that despite complaints over a supposed directive to “exercise restraint” in the maritime dispute with China, President Rodrigo Duterte still enjoys military support.
“I heard some complaints from middle-grade officers and even some high-ranking officers of the military. Because much as they would want to protect our territories, parang merong guidance from higher headquarters daw not to go for it or exercise restraint in doing it,” said the senate national defense committee chairman.
According to Lacson, he does not see these complaints progressing into something else.
“The President remains popular and he enjoys massive support from super majority of men in uniform, active and retired. There might be complaints, but it will not escalate into a situation na magwi-withdraw ng support sa Presidente. I would say that with certainty,” he added.
In his public address on Monday, Duterte claimed that he felt “downhearted” upon hearing of some military men allegedly withdrawing support for him, even saying that he is willing to step down if he no longer has their support.
“Talagang downhearted ako because I expected the military to perform well,” said Duterte, recounting what transpired in a command conference with the heads of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.