The Philippines government has claimed that a coup d'état is being masterminded against President Rodrigo Duterte and said the administration is cracking down on the suspected plotters. A government spokesperson said some Filipino-Americans in New York are planning to oust the abrasive leader.
Without revealing the names of the suspected plotters or their plans, the Philippines government Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said those conspiring against Duterte should "think twice".
"I have received information from credible sources in the United States. Yes, we have names but I don't want to mention it. We are looking [at] it seriously. We are investigating it," said the senior government official.
Duterte has been waging a bloody crackdown on drug-pushers under the banner of a so-called "drug war". The tough-talking and foul-mouthed president has been facing stinging criticism from several corners for alleged human rights abuse and extrajudicial killings since he took over as president in May 2016.
"Whoever is planning an ouster or coup d' état just be careful with what you do. Think twice. It's not lawful to bring down the government," warned Andanar in his address, adding that the information he received was from credible sources.
Andanar cited a high-level cabinet member, who has currently travelled to New York, of informing him of the plot hatched by Filipino-Americans to get rid of Duterte in January 2017. He did not reveal the identity of the cabinet member although Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr and presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abello are thought to be the only such members in New York.
In recent months, there has been some forceful and vocal criticism against Duterte's harsh policies against drug peddlers in the Philippines — the south-east Asian nation is badly affected by the illegal drug trade. Duterte's political opponents have also called for a plan B by replacing Duterte with Vice President Leni Robredo as the president's war on drugs marches, having already claimed more than 3,000 lives.