DEFENSE Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana dismissed claims made by a retired military officer running for the country’s highest post that Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” T. Go was controlling President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s decisions.  

Mr. Lorenzana dismissed as “baseless” the statement of retired military general Antonio G. Parlade, Jr. that the President is being manipulated by his long-time aide. 

“The President stands by his own decisions, has always been firm in his directives to us, who are working for him, and is not as easily swayed or influenced by others as purported by the general,” he said in a statement.   

Mr. Parlade, who served as spokesman for the government’s anti-communist task force, on Monday filed his candidacy for president as substitute under the Katipunan ng Demokratikong Pilipino.   

After filing his candidacy papers, he told reporters that he “cannot align with” Mr. Go because he does not like “the way he does things, including controlling the decisions of the President.”  

Mr. Parlade, who did not elaborate on his remarks, told the media that government workers, the army, and even Mr. Lorenzana himself share the same observation.  

In his statement, Mr. Lorenzana said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) remains a professional organization “regardless of the prevailing political landscape.” 

“There is no truth to the allegations that there is brewing trouble or discontent in the AFP,” he said.   

Mr. Duterte, in his taped Cabinet meeting aired on Monday night, said Mr. Go “does not control anybody.”   

“He does not control me,” the President said of Mr. Go, who initially registered to run for vice-president but changed to president after Mr. Duterte’s daughter formalized her bid for the second top post. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza 

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