Palace debunks Esperon’s wrong info on Duterte’s inclusion on NPA ‘hit list’
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s inclusion in the so-called “hit list” of the New People’s Army (NPA) is “false news” as Malacañang said Monday that National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. was fed with wrong information.
“That report is false news. It has been denied by (communist leader) Jose Maria Sison himself,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo pointed out in a Palace briefing.
Earlier, Esperon said he and Duterte were included in NPA’s kill list, prompting the Presidential Security Group (PSG) to intensify security measures for the Chief Executive.
NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, which was founded by Sison over 50 years ago.
But according to Panelo, the former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief “was fed by false information”, reiterating that the supposed plot was already denied by Sison.
The CPP founding chair earlier branded as “psywar”, or psychological warfare, Esperon’s claim that the President has been included on a communist list of targets for assassination.
However, the Palace official said that “it is not far-fetched” that communist rebels would try to eliminate key government officials as it has been their purpose to destabilize the government.
“The very essence of a rebellion is to put the government down. So definitely kasama doon ang pag-assassinate sa lahat ng mga tao (That includes assassinating people) running the government,” Panelo said.
“But we’re ready for that. They have been trying to do that for the past 50 years but they’ve failed,” he added.
However, on December 21, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said the two alleged NPA “high-ranking” leaders that were slain during a shootout with policemen and soldiers on December 19 in Quezon City were part of the communist “special teams” tasked to liquidate Duterte and other officials in the supposed kill list.
Edited by KGA
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