Duterte admits coddling Reds, calls Palparan a bigot
DAVAO CITY – Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Friday admitted that he coddles communist rebels as much as he coddles people of other political colors.
“Yes, I coddle the Reds, they are Filipinos after all,” Duterte said in a statement posted on social media by former North Cotabato governor Manny Piñol.
The statement was in response to allegations of retired general Jovito Palparan that the mayor was coddler of communists.
“I also coddle the other Filipinos who have been categorized to belong to the three other major colors representing the national flag–blue, yellow and white,” Duterte added.
“I believe in equality and this is the reason why I worked for the passage of a City Ordinance imposing stiff penalties on those who discriminate against Muslims and the LGBTs,” he said.
Duterte said talking to the communists, the rightists, and the various Moro rebels was part of his effort “to find a common ground to bring about peace and unity in this country.”
The feisty mayor, who allowed a hero’s burial for slain New People’s Army leader Leoncio Pitao, alias Parago, has always been open about his friendship with the communists and other rebel groups.
He said there was nothing wrong in it and that he respected the communist ideology or the Moro principle. However, Duterte made it clear in past interviews that he could not agree to the armed struggle the NPA, the Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have been waging to achieve their goals.
“I also embrace the sick, the oppressed, the weak, the scared and most of all, the children who look for security and protection as they venture into the big world looking for answers to their questions and searching for a place they could call their own,” he said.
Duterte admitted that he was not only coddling communists but fed them as well.
“When Typhoon Pablo ravaged the Davao Region, I brought them food just as I brought medicines, food and shelter to the people of Leyte following Typhoon Yolanda and the people of Bohol when the island was devastated by an earthquake,” he said.
Duterte took a shot at Palparan for the red-coddler tag by saying: “Our greatest misfortune as a people is having leaders and prominent individuals who divide this country into groups represented by colors, ethnicity and religious beliefs.”
“The accusation that I am a ‘Red-coddler’ is a perfect example of the bigotry, which has afflicted our country like a scourge– which breaks down Filipinos into small groups, preventing us from uniting and achieving our dreams as a people under one flag,” he added.
Duterte said the inclusive governance that he adopted was the reason why Davao City has deputy mayors representing various tribes in Mindanao.
“The only people I do not deal with are the criminals and the drug dealers because unlike the revolutionaries who are motivated by their principles and ideology, they are consumed by greed and the desire to gain while causing other people pain. I detest them,” he said.
Duterte said unlike Palparan, whom he described as “the pathetic former army general, who sees things red because of his bloodshot eyes,” he has never been accused of murdering bright, young and idealistic Filipino children who had denounced social injustice and the oppression of Filipino people.
He also lamented the use of the Red scare tactic to diminish the people’s support for him even if he has not declared he was running for president.
Duterte said despite his friendship with communist rebels, Davao City never became a communist city.
“Do you see NPA cadres carrying guns parading in the city streets?” he asked.
‘Butcher and bigot’
In reaction to Palparan’s announcement to run as senator, Duterte said: “The country does not need bigots like this pathetic army general who gloats about his image as the Butcher of young and bright college students.”
He then urged Filipinos “not to be divided by ethnicity, colors, shades or hues.”
“We should be like a rainbow, a country of diverse colors but united and bound by the common desire of becoming a beautiful spectacle in the sky,” Duterte said. Allan Nawal, Inquirer Mindanao/CDG
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