Malacañang has said it was exiled communist leader Jose Maria “Joma” Sison who should be called an “abominable violator of human rights,” not President Rodrigo Duterte.
Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement after Sison alleged that Duterte was the “number one perpetrator of state-sponsored terrorism” after the President issued an order to “destroy” the communist rebels and all their legal fronts.
“It is Jose Maria Sison, as founder of the CPP-NPA [Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army], that aims to destroy the government that should rightfully get the dubious distinction of being the leading
‘abominable violator of human rights,’” Panelo said.
On Saturday, Duterte ordered the military to destroy communist rebels, saying he will “assume full responsibility” should cases of human rights violations be filed against him.
Panelo said the President’s order against communist rebels was “pursuant to his constitutional duty to protect the people.”
He noted that the CCP-NPA “was established for the purpose of seizing political power from the constituted government.”
“In a span of 50 years, the CPP-NPA has waged a continuing rebellion and engaged in the killing of soldiers, policemen and civilians; destroying properties’ extorting money from businessmen and landlords; kidnapping civilians and men in uniform; committing acts of terrorism; and even exterminating its own comrades without compunction in a cleansing purge of suspected traitors to their cause,” Panelo said.
“In doing these atrocities, the CPP-NPA aided by, and in conspiracy with its legal fronts, violated the human rights of their victims, disobeyed the laws of the land, and infringed the Constitution with such impunity in order to destroy the democratic way of life enshrined in the Constitution as crafted by its framers and ratified by the sovereign people,” he added.
The Palace official asserted that the state “has the inherent right to defend itself and the President is mandated to protect the government and the governed.”
“Jose Maria Sison, as an ideologue, should be the first one to know that the government that he wants to destroy will unleash its might and sends its forces to annihilate those who seek to dismantle the democratic society in order to protect its people, maintain peace and order as well as assert its constitutional authority,” he said.
Panelo warned the rebels “will reap violence” from the government” for “sowing violence against the people.”
“That is the irreversible law of karma or the law of cause and effect,” the Palace official said.
Meanwhile, Panelo urged “our brother rebels that have chosen to tread the path of destruction and bloodshed” to just surrender, saying “it is not too late to return to the fold of the law.”
“Your families await the warmth and the joy of your return. Let us end the internecine [fighting] among Filipinos. Let the spirit of Christmas enlighten all of us that change that we seek in our society can only be realized if we begin to change ourselves,” he said.
“The road to peace and reconciliation is more desirable than the road to bloodshed and destruction. There is honor in returning to the rule of law,” Panelo added.
Duterte, in a speech before troops in Camp General Manuel Yan Sr. in Compostela Valley, said destroying all members of the NPA was the only way to achieve law and order in the country.
“Law and order, means you have to destroy, not really fight, but destroy the Communist Party of the Philippines, including its legal fronts and infrastructure,” he added.
“Unless we are able to destroy every one of them, ang ating mga anak o apo ninyo ganun pa rin ang haharapin [our children and grandchildren will face the same problems],” the President said.
Earlier, Duterte described the NPA as “cruel and brutal people” and would rather have the military finish them off than call for a holiday truce.
Sison, however, maintained that communist rebels have been following and enforcing the International Humanitarian Law.
He lashed out at Malacañang, saying it is Duterte who had become “a tyrant and a shameless instigator of mass murder and other grave human rights violations.”
“Duterte is the abominable No. 1 violator of human rights and is the precise target of the Filipino people’s exercise of their sovereign right to free themselves from tyranny and to undertake all necessary actions to oust him from his position,” Sison said in a statement.
The Makabayan bloc at the House of Representatives also on Tuesday condemned the “blatant red-tagging and bullying” of Duterte and Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.
This came after Andanar said all groups and pesonalities linked with the communists would be covered by Duterte’s order to “destroy” insurgents.
“President Duterte and Sec. Andanar are again setting up our bloc and progressive people’s organizations for attacks by state agents through trumped up charges, harassment, enforced disappearances, and even extra-judicial killings with their continued vitriolic verbal attacks and black propaganda against us,” Makabayan bloc countered.
“The public knows that we are legal and legitimate party-list groups and we are not fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines,” the Makabayan bloc added.
On December 7, Duterte accused Bayan Muna party-list, Gabriela, labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno, and transport group Piston of being “legal fronts” for the communist movement.
With a reports from DEMPSEY REYES, GLEE JALEA