Malacañang on Wednesday expressed concern over implications of presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s ties with the communist New People’s Army (NPA).
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. issued the statement in reaction to a published photo of police prisoners of the rebel group being released to an apparently NPA-friendly Duterte.
“Freedom-loving citizens would find sufficient cause to be alarmed at the picture published in a major broadsheet, where erstwhile captive PNP [Philippine National Police] officers are shown wearing shirts with POW (Prisoner of War) printed thereon and being paraded by heavily armed NPA members in the company of Mayor Duterte, with the CPP [Communist Party of the Philippines], NPA and the NDF [National Democratic Front] flags prominently displayed in the background,” Coloma told media in a statement.
“This picture should lead us to think seriously and be concerned if this is the future for the Philippines which presidential candidate Duterte is offering to our people,” he said.
On Monday, the NPA released the five police officers who have been held by the group since they were abducted on April 16.
According to Duterte, he himself talked asked the NPA to free the policemen, pointing out that the captives were just doing their job.
In his speech, he also told the police to calm down and not to fight when confronted by the NPA.
The mayor said the police should simply perform their duty to investigate and respond.
In Talisay City, Cebu, administration presidential aspirant Manuel Roxas 2nd also on Wednesday warned that a vote for Duterte in the May 9 elections is a vote for lawless elements such as the communists or the NPA.
Roxas was reacting to the NPA’s turnover of the five abducted policemen to Duterte on Monday in a ceremony in Paquibato district, Davao City.
“Mayor Duterte has been repeatedly calling for the payment of the ‘revolutionary ‘tax. He wants to help the NPA rebels because they are right. Joma Sison said so himself that if Duterte wins, they will have one foot already inside of Malacañang. It’s up to the voters. If they want communism to prevail and strengthen the NPA rebels, then their choice is clear: Mayor Duterte,” he told reporters after campaigning in Bantayan Island and Talisay City here.
Joma is Jose Maria Sison, founder of the reestablished CPP and chief political consultant of the NDF–the umbrella organization of the mainstream communist groups in the country, including the CPP and the NPA.
Roxas then slammed communism as a blind obedience type of philosophy that deprives people of resources, individual empowerment and other freedoms.
“The NPAs, they’re different. They collect ‘revolutionary’ tax from the poor. They collect taxes from toiling farmers, indigenous peoples, to raise money for their causes. What are they fighting for, really?” he said.
“As far as I am concerned, the NPAs are rebels and I will fight them. I will condemn them, but I won’t kill them for the sake of killing. I am for honor and improving the capabilities of our people. Every Filipino should have an opportunity for progress. Under communist rule, there will be no honor and progress,” Roxas added.