By Kenneth Christiane L. Basilio

A LAWMAKER’S supposed call for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to withdraw their support for President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. is tantamount to sedition or rebellion, congressmen said on Monday.

Camiguin Representative Jurdin Jesus M. Romualdo said the Department of Justice (DoJ) should file sedition charges against Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon D. Alvarez over his alleged prodding of the military to abandon the President amid increasing tensions over the South China Sea.

Last Sunday, Mr. Alvarez said that if the AFP should withdraw its support for Mr. Marcos, the move would de-escalate tensions with Beijing over maritime activities in the disputed South China Sea.

“If you withdraw your support to him (Mr. Marcos), it means that you’re supporting the provision in the Constitution to protect the people and the state,” Mr. Alvarez said in Filipino at a political rally in Tagum City, Mindanao.

“Withdrawing your support will force him to abandon his position (as president of the Philippines),” the former House speaker added.

His suggestion that the military abandon the President followed his earlier call for Mr. Marcos to resign.

“The response to the seditious statement should be the immediate filing of a criminal case so that the move to incite people, including the military, to rebel against the government will be nipped in the bud,” Mr. Romualdo said in a statement.

Mr. Alvarez’s statement at the political rally “falls within the purview of sedition,” he added.

Lanao del Norte Rep. Mohamad Khalid Q. Dimaporo said that Mr. Alvarez’s remarks directed at the AFP are unbecoming of a member of Congress.

A close ally of former president Rodrigo R. Duterte, Mr. Alvarez could face a probe by the Ethics Committee of the House of Representatives due to his “anti-government” statements, Mr. Dimaporo said.

“At face value, his anti-government statements are unbecoming of a member of the House of Representatives and may warrant an ethics case against him,” he said.