Duterte’s plan to form death squads vs NPA ‘just an idea’ — Panelo
President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to create a death squad to go after the communist rebels is just an “idea” that may or may not come into fruition, Malacañang said Thursday.
“I think the President was just bringing an idea, and if that idea becomes a reality, as Secretary of Defense Delfin Lorenzana said, the Army will be in charge of that,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Panelo made the remark after Duterte drew criticisms for proposing the creation of a “death squad” that he said will match the talent of hitmen in the New People’s Army (NPA).
Panelo also confirmed Duterte’s plan to use NPA surrenderers to identify current members of NPA’s so-called Sparrow Units.
“There is also the idea that perhaps if you organize that… you need those who surrendered coming from the NPAs to join so that these people know who the members of the Sparrow Units are, so they can easily point – mas mabuti iyong kilala mo kung sino iyong miyembro, kasi mga kasamahan nila iyon eh,” Panelo said.
Asked if this will endanger the lives of surrenderers, Panelo said their lives were already in danger the moment they laid down their arms and surrendered to the government.
“(Ang) katotohanan niyan, nanganganib ang buhay nila noong sumurender sila. Sila ang unang ita-target noong mga Sparrow, kasi sumurender sila eh; and there is a risk of these people pointing at them, kaya sila ang unang target in fact,” he said.
Duterte’s plan to create a government-sanctioned hit squad against the communist has been met with skepticism, with some calling it illegal and may cause serious violations of human rights. /kga