President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he will order the “mass arrest” of the communist leaders who were freed to participate in the peace negotiations.
The President, speaking during the oath-taking of newly promoted military officials in Malacañang, said he was fed up with the recent actions of the communist rebels and reiterated that he is no longer inclined to talk with them.
“And for those who are out temporarily, any day, I will order for their mass arrest. Wala akong magawa e. Ginusto ninyo (I can’t do anything, that’s what you wanted). You demanded. I gave too much too soon,” Duterte said.
“I concede to your brilliance or whatever, your ideologues, but then the simple matter is really sovereignty is owned by the Filipino people and nobody else. And one day, I will just hope you’re arrested. You want to fight the country, create a revolution, fine. We’ve been fighting you for 50 years and we will fight again for another 50 years. That’s what you want. I just have to prepare the country for such eventuality,” he added.
The President issued the statement a day after he signed a proclamation declaring as terrorist organizations the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).
The declaration followed the President’s decision to cut all peace negotiations with the rebels.
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the political arm of the CPP/NPA, shot back that Duterte is the “real terrorist.”
“Hindi maniniwala ang taumbayan na ang CPP- NPA ay terorista, sapagkat talaga ang katotohanan si Duterte mismo ang terorista (The public will not believe the CPP-NPA are terrorists because the truth is Duterte himself is the terrorist),” NDFP senior adviser Luis Jalandoni said.
Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza had confirmed that 21 consultants were released for the peace talks last year, including Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, the couple leading the communist rebellion.
In his speech, Duterte said the public should expect “a longer war.”
“But kung matapos natin (if we finish it) during my term, I will be happy. But I am not talking to them anymore,” Duterte said. CATHERINE S. VALENTE