Duterte orders arrest of NDF men, calls CPP-NPA a terrorist group
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – President Duterte has ordered the arrest of National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace negotiators once they set foot in the country.
This as the President said he now considers the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-NDF (CPP-NPA-NDF) as a terrorist group.
“I don’t look upon the CPP and NDF as rebel organization anymore,” he said.
But Duterte made it clear that he will not declare an all-out war as he considers his offensive against the NPA as a law enforcement operation.
The President made the announcement on the pending arrest of the communist negotiators following his visit to the wake of the three soldiers who were killed by NPA rebels on Feb. 1, at the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division headquarters in Cagayan de Oro.
The NPA earlier announced it was terminating its unilateral ceasefire effective Feb. 10. The NPA said the failure of the government to release the more than 400 political prisoners which was promised by Duterte was one of the reasons for the lifting of the unilateral ceasefire.
But Duterte had previously reminded the communists that he had conceded too much already.
“I have surrendered/conceded too much too soon. Now they (NDF) want 400 released? My God, that’s releasing all. It’s as if I have granted amnesty already,” he said.
Duterte said amnesty was usually given after a successful negotiation.
He also said he alone could not decide for the government and that he must consult the military, the police, Congress and other officials.
The government has so far released about two dozen political consultants of the NDF, the political negotiating arm of the CPP.
On Friday, the President reciprocated the NPA’s announcement by suspending its own unilateral ceasefire. On Saturday night, he said he was terminating the peace talks with the communist movement.
But on Sunday in Cagayan de Oro, the President said he has also ordered authorities to arrest the NDFP representatives who are in Rome after the third round of talks.
“Come home because you’re wanted and upon your arrival I will arrest you and place you back in prison. If you don’t want to go back, you’re fugitives. I will cancel your passports and I will inform the international police for an international warrant (for you),” Duterte told reporters in a press conference, referring to the NDF panelists, shortly after an executive meeting with the 4th Infantry Division officials.
The NDF on Sunday said all its consultants were already in the country.
He said the NDF negotiators have the option to seek asylum, for instance, in The Netherlands, but he added, “the most that can happen to a Filipino is to die in somebody else’s country. You want that for yourself, I can give it to you.”
Duterte also took a potshot at the NPA rebels, especially those responsible for killing Sergeant Owen Yee, Corporal Pat Non, and Corporal Christopher Talabor, in a remote village in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.
He said in the field of battle, there is always honor. “Where is your honor? Why do you kill government soldiers 73 times? What do you think of the soldiers, dogs?” he said.
The slain soldiers allegedly suffered multiple gunshot wounds.
The President has also threatened the communist rebels that government will retaliate.
“What you want to do with the government or to the people, I will also do it to you.”/ac
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