South China Sea: Philippines fear military coup amid row with Beijing – ‘Tempers rising!’

Salvador Panelo warned that Mr Duterte could use martial law to resolve the country’s row. According to Newsweek, Mr Panelo, who also acts as Mr Duterte’s chief legal counsel, made the comments during a speech to Filipino politicians. During the talk he urged those in power to reevaluate the constitution in order to protect Mr Duterte’s grip on power.

He said: “I think it’s a fair warning to all.

“If they get angry, they might stage a coup.

“He has very reliable information.

“Any coup attempt against President Duterte will certainly fail.

“It will not get the support of a critical mass of people who remain overwhelmingly supportive of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and his administration.”

Mr Panelo explained that if politicians “want to change the constitution, do it now”.

He then added: “I’m still here because tempers are rising in the military.”

Mr Panelo advised the military was able to remove Mr Duterte if they witnessed any corruption within the government.

The president has previously said he would be happy to stand down but wants to engage with talks with the military.

The row comes amid ongoing tension between the Philippines, US and Beijing over the disputed South China Sea.

Earlier, Mr Duterte urged the US to declare war on China by deploying ships in the water to force Beijing away.

The Filipino president said: “I have a proposal.

“If America wants China to leave, and I can’t make them. I want the whole 7th Fleet of the armed forces of the United States of America there.

“When they enter the South China Sea, I will enter. I will ride with the American who goes there first. Then I will tell the Americans, ‘Okay, let’s bomb everything.'”

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