ZAMBOANGA CITY: A war of words and insults ensued between Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and the New People’s Army (NPA) after the President’s daughter branded the communist rebel group as “stupid and bumbling idiots” for calling her a “hypocrite.”
This after the rebels staged a series of attacks on plants of Lapanday Foods Corp. and shot its security guards and wounded a civilian last Saturday. The NPA accused the company of land grabbing and exploitation of its workers.
Carpio, who strongly condemned the attack, said it was an act of terrorism and a personal insult.
Restituto Baguer, a spokesman for the Pambangsang Katipunan ng mga Magbubukid allied with the rebel group, accused Carpio of being a hypocrite, saying her husband, lawyer Mans Carpio, is a legal counsel for Lapanday. He also tagged the mayor as spokesperson and defender of Lapanday.
“It is understandable that Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte (Carpio) views the April 29 NPA punitive action as an “act of terrorism” against the Lorenzos, given that her husband is a legal counsel of the Lorenzo-owned Lapanday Foods Corp. We can only expect that a local chief executive who has vested interest in the companies of a land grabbing comprador-landlord to be the latter’s spokesperson and defender,” Baguer said.
He added that the mayor was silent when armed men allegedly working for Lapanday shot and wounded nine farmers last December at a banana plantation in Tagum City, Davao del Norte. She even appointed Senior Supt. Alexander Tagum, then North Cotabato police chief, as Davao City chief of police despite his alleged human rights abuses.
“Thus, for Sara Duterte to claim the NPA assault on the Lorenzo-owned businesses in Davao City a “personal insult,” is not only hypocritical but downright self-serving. Nothing can be farther from the truth when she scored the NPA as a group that pretends to champion social justice and equality. For peasants around the region, the NPA’s series of raids in Lapanday’s plants in Mandug and Bunawan, and a ranch in Pangyan, Calinan (also in Davao City) is a fitting retributive action by a true people’s army against a greedy feudal lord and capitalist,” he added.
Sara Duterte, known for her feisty character, said “My husband and I are separate entities. In fact, we do not discuss the job that we chose to do, we just commit to sincerely work and earn money for the benefit of our children.”
She also narrated how she rushed to the hospital to personally look at the situation of the wounded civilian, Larry Buenafe, a vendor who fell victim to an NPA bomb explosion during the Lapanday raid.
“So let me make you understand why I condemned what the NPA has done. On or about 8 a.m. on April 29, I was standing in the middle of the trauma room of the Southern Philippines Medical Center praying that the civilian who was injured in the IED blast – courtesy of the terrorist NPA – will not die. Larry had no one with him so I was the one who had to read through his text messages to look for a family member. I was the one who called his wife, broke the bad news, and asked her to come and stand by her husband’s side.”
“One of his text messages spoke of his work as a simple laborer, who sells fruits and fish. The victim was the very person that you say should be defended from injustice. So when I condemned what the NPA did, I spoke for Larry. But you did not know that, did you? You just assumed when I say personal, it is all about my life. Because that is how you are. You are selfish individuals and you think the world is all about you. As mayor tasked with the responsibility of the safety of civilians, the injury of Larry is my injury,” she said.
She also said the incidents in the cities of Kidapawan and Tagum were not her concern being the mayor of Davao City. But admitted she favored Tagum to be the chief of the local police force because of his tough stance against the NPA.
“I personally made it happen that Tagum come in as Director of the Davao City Police Office, because he stood his ground against you. The so-called punitive action against the company was nothing but an action against peace, economic stability, and the security of Davao City. We now have 130 employees without work and Larry is still in a coma. And yet the Lorenzos will still have money that you and I can only dream about in this lifetime. It did not even make a dent in their bank accounts,” the mayor said.
“I maybe a hypocrite to you, but you are stupid to me and all the peace-loving Dabawenyos. Terrorists and fake organizations do not have the right to talk about social justice. Show me your faces and then maybe I will listen to your rant about social justice. Look, you cannot even spell the word ‘Pambansang’ correctly. Bumbling idiots,” Duterte said.