Duterte orders arrest of communist rebel leaders upon their return to PH
DAVAO CITY – President Duterte vowed on Wednesday, to order the arrest of members of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace panel when they return home from the Netherlands.
The President said he would also order the arrest of other communist leaders he had released from prison if the Marawi conflict and the entire Mindanao situation became worse and even more complicated due
to the attacks of the communist rebels.
Both the Philippine government and the NDFP panels were in Netherlands for the fifth round of formal talks, which was cancelled when the government panel announced that it was not participating on the orders of the President.
The President announced his decision to arrest the communist rebel leaders after the Communist Party of the Philippines ordered the New People’s Army to intensify its operations against government forces after Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao. NDFP is the political arm and peace negotiator of the CPP and its armed wing, the NPA.
Mr. Duterte, the guest of honor during the Philippine Navy’s 119th anniversary in Sasa wharf here Wednesday, said the communists have been given concessions, with several of their jailed ailing leaders
He lamented that while the government was trying to find ways to end the communist insurgency, Communist Party of the Philippines founding chair Jose Ma. Sison ordered the New People’s Army (NPA) to “take an aggressive stand” against the government.
“This is a 50-year war already and nakakaiyak kung isipin mo, 50 years wala naman tayong ginawa kundi magpatayan at ang karamihan nating casualty taga gobyerno, and on the civilian side almost about a third
of barangay captains have been liquidated,” he said. (This is a 50-year war already and anybody would cry at the thought that in those 50 years, we did nothing but kill each other and most of the casualties are from government, and on the civilian side, almost about a third of barangay captains have been liquidated.)
Duterte also found it funny that “for all of their bravado, they never occupied even a barangay for 24 hours and yet when they talk, it’s full of hubris.”
“Akala mo kung sino,” he said. (They’re arrogant; they talk as if they’re somebody, better than the rest.)
He also downplayed Sison’s statement that he would order the NPA to fight the terrorists.
“Kung manalo ba ang ISIS dito sa Pilipinas may papel pa kayo dito sa mundong ito? Huwag na tayong magbolahan. (If ISIS wins, do you think you can have any role or place in this world? Let’s not fool each other.) You will be marginalized and outcast. Because your form of govenment is always anathema to the rest of the religious zealous in this world. Islam is fundamentally feudal because the Koran ordered it
to be so,” Duterte said.
He then said the communist rebels were wasting their time fighting the government.
“You cannot prevail over the government of the Republic of the Philippines. Neither can you find a sanctuary under an (extremist) rule. Huwag na tayong magbolahan (Let’s stop fooling each other),” he
Duterte also said he had already conceded too much in so far as the communists were concerned, yet they wanted more.
“I tried to talk to you as a matter of fact conceding almost everything, nirelease ko halos lahat ang mga preso ninyo (…I released almost all of your prisoners),” he said.
He then warned that if the situation in Mindanao went worst because of the NPA attacks, he would not think twice about ordering government forces to re-arrest those he had ordered freed.
“If there is a breakdown in the peace and order here because of the participation of the communists in this war against the ISIS, kung gusto ninyong tumulong sa kabila, magpuntahan na kayo lahat (…if you want to help the enemy, you might as well defect to their side now),” he said.
“But I am warning the leaders whom I have released and who are now talking to the representatives of my government, do not attempt to come home. I will arrest all of you and throw you to the slammer. Pagkukulungin ko kayo at lahat noong matatanda arrestuhin ko iyon uli (I will have you arrested and imprisoned and all the elderly, I will also arrest again…) and if needed, they will just die there inside the prison. Alam ninyo na hindi na kayo makatakbo-takbo. (You know you can’t run anymore.) So stop attacking government,” he said.
Duterte could be referring to an earlier CPP directive to the NPA to further intensify its attacks as response to Martial Law. This was also the reason that the government peace panel refused to participate in the fifth round of talks in The Hague, Netherlands.
The NDFP explained that the CPP only issued the directive after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the NPA would be one of the targets of the martial law implementation.
The government, through its negotiator Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, has clarified that the NPA is not a target of the martial law and that the current direction of the Duterte administration has been to seek peace political settlement with the communist movement.
In an effort to address the issue, the NDFP recommended to the CPP to reconsider its directive but they explained that it would take time for them to communicate and implement it. SFM
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