Duterte Death Squad is old news, says Alejano
President Rodrigo Duterte’s vow to create a team that would assassinate members of the New People’s Army (NPA) sparrow unit is not something new, a senatorial candidate from the opposition bloc said on Wednesday.
Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, who is running under the Oposisyon Koalisyon (OK), said that the so-called “Duterte Death Squad” is nothing but a nationalized form of the vigilante group founded in Davao.
“Hindi bago ‘yan, dati nang nangyayari ito sa Davao, nangyayari ngayon sa Pilipinas […] Na-elevate ‘yong Davao Death Squad into a national death squad. Nilulutang niya lang ito dahil ‘yan naman talaga ang nangyayari ngayon,” Alejano said in a press briefing in Quezon City.
(It’s not new. This has been happening in Davao, and now the whole Philippines […] The Davao Death Squad has been elevated to a national death squad. He is just surfacing this issue because that is already happening.)
“Ang sa akin lang, bakit may penchant ang pangulo sa paglalabag ng karapatang pantao, sa due process, bakit siya ang namumuno sa pagsira ng ating konstitusyon?” he asked.
(Why is it that the president has a penchant for violating human rights, due process. Why is he spearheading the move to ruin our constitution.)
Duterte said in a speech in Bohol on Tuesday that he will form an elite unit tasked to kill rebels who also specialize in assassinations to counter the growing insurgency problem.
“One of these days I’ll be forced to create my own Sparrow… I will match their talent in assassinating people,” he said.
“Yun ang balak ko […] Yung kulang talaga is yung sparrow ko rin, diyan naman sila makalamang. So magcreate ako ng sparrow, Duterte Death Squad against the (NPA) sparrow,” he added.
(That is my plan…What is missing is my own sparrow. That’s their advantage. So I am going to create my own sparrow, Duterte Death Squad against sparrow.)
The proposed Duterte Death Squad shares the same acronym with the “Die-hard Duterte Supporters,” a collection of Duterte’s most ardent followers. It stemmed from accusations of Duterte’s links with the original DDS — Davao Death Squad — a vigilante group who freely assassinated criminals.
On the contrary, Alejano said that NPA’s sparrow units are no longer existent, and this is just the Duterte administration’s way to spread fear.
“Sa totoo lang hindi naman nagkakaroon ng resurgence ang sparrow eh, or killings of the New People’s Army sa urban areas. Hindi ho natin namo-monitor ‘yan sa pagkakalap ng impormasyon. Hindi dapat ma-trigger ang pangulo na magkaroon siya ng Duterte Death Squad para kontrahin ang sparrow,” the former soldier said.
(The truth is the sparrow never had a resurgence, and there were no NPA killings in urban areas. We haven’t monitored that in our information gathering. It should not trigger an action from the president to create the Duterte Death Squad to counter the sparrow.)
“Noon pa ‘yan, noon mga pulis na nagta-traffic, binabaril ‘yon sa mga sasakyan. Ngayon ho, hindi ko naririnig ‘yan. Is it the way of conditioning the minds of the people, para magkaroon ng legal na death squad ang pangulo?” he asked.
(That is an old issue. Traffic policemen used to be gunned down. We haven’t heard incidents like that in a while. Is it the way of conditioning the minds of the people for the president to legally set up a death squad?)
The Sparrow unit or SPARU (Special Partisan Unit) was the NPA’s hit squad tasked to kill abusive police officers and government employees during the martial law regime of former President Ferdinand Marcos.
When Duterte assumed office, elements from leftist groups such as the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) were hopeful that peace talks would resume. However, despite proclamations from the President that he is a ‘socialist,” the government has opted to cancel the talks, citing the unfaithfulness of the communist groups to the peace process. /ee
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