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‘I AM NOT AGAINST NPA,’ HE SAYS

Duterte defends allowing hero’s burial for slain NPA leader

/ 12:34 PM July 11, 2015
 With guards standing in full attention, the body of slain New People's Army commander Leoncio "Parago" Pitao, which was enclosed in a plain white coffin adorned by the red hammer and sickle flag, was paraded around Davao City accompanied by at least 10,000 supporters.  PHOTO BY KARLOS MANLUPIG/INQUIRER MINDANAO


With guards standing in full attention, the body of slain New People’s Army commander Leoncio “Parago” Pitao, which was enclosed in a plain white coffin adorned by the red hammer and sickle flag, was paraded around Davao City accompanied by at least 10,000 supporters.
PHOTO BY KARLOS MANLUPIG/INQUIRER MINDANAO

DAVAO CITY – Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has continued to defend his decision to allow a hero’s burial for slain New People’s Army (NPA) leader Leoncio Pitao here on Friday, saying there was nothing wrong with it.

Criticisms against Duterte flooded the social media and accused him of being a communist too after he allowed the NPA to hold a funeral march for Pitao, also known as Parago, here.

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READ: Slain NPA leader’s remains cremated in Davao City

Anti-communist leader Pastor Alcover even wrote on his Facebook page that Duterte should be condemned.

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“Parago is dead. Death is permanent. But to me when the person is dead it is all even,” Duterte retorted.

He said while Parago was a communist leader, he should be respected for his ideology.

“After all, that guy is not an ugly guy. He was not a robber. He did not sell drugs. He was there dreaming of a different setup for the Philippines. That is all his sin,” the feisty mayor said.

Duterte said there was nothing wrong in his talks with the NPA either because as a mayor, one of his jobs is to ensure the city was peaceful and free from communist-led violence.

“I cannot seal my door. I need a window to talk to the CPP-NPA,” he said.

READ: Duterte urges gov’t to pursue peace with NPA

Still on allowing the funeral march for the slain NPA leader, during which, red-shirted NPA supporters and suspected members waved communist flags on the streets of the city, Duterte said he told security officials to allow it.

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“We should not be contrasting on death. I’m your mayor. It’s not my job to do the fighting,” he said.

Duterte also openly admitted that he was not against the NPA and its ideology of social equality.

“I am not against you. I will not fight against you. We have the same view of the government and politics,” he said.

READ: Davao city mayor gives NPA rebels P125 a year

But he immediately added that he did not subscribe to an armed struggle.

“What is not with me is the armed struggle,” he added.

Duterte then went on to say that much of the problem that caused the NPA’s armed struggle was rooted on dire poverty and that many people had been marginalized.

“The NPA is pursuing a kind of democracy based on socialism,” he said.

“(But) I don’t believe in killing a Filipino,” he said, adding that he preferred negotiations or elections to bring about social change.

Asked anew if he would seek the presidency to bring about the social change he had in mind, Duterte said: “That would be the joy of the NPA.”

“They would be able to set foot on Malacañang. One foot of the NPA would be in Malacañang,” he said.

“But I am not a candidate. I am just a mayor,” he added.

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TAGS: communist, hero’s burial, Leoncio Pitao, NPA, Parago, Rebel, Rodrigo Duterte, socialism
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