COMMUNIST rebels taunted President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday, urging him to “do his worst” amid the continued implementation of martial law in the country.
Responding to Duterte’s vow of “bullying” communists for being enemies of the state, National Democratic Front chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili said that the President is doomed to repeat his same mistakes, citing the brutal drug war which killed thousands since he took office last year.
“Let him do his worst,” Agcaoili said. “If he thinks by going on a killing rampage against the revolutionary movement he would achieve social change, he is absolutely mistaken—just as he has been shown to be wrong in trying to solve the drug problem by killing thousands of poor drug users or in trying to solve the Deash [Islamic State] problem by killing hundreds of Moros and destroying Marawi.”
On Friday, Duterte said he will no longer talk peace with the communist rebels and ordered the military to train its guns on the New People’s Army after it has retaken Marawi City from Islamist terrorists.
Duterte likewise said that the NDF was no longer interested in pursuing talks amid its continued criticism of some of his policies and the NPA’s relentless attacks on state troops even as he ordered the arrest of all NDF consultants who were given temporary freedom to hold talks with the government.
The Office of the Solicitor General earlier asked the Supreme Court and several regional trial courts handling the cases against the communist leaders to recall the bail grant earlier given to them, after backchannel talks were called off Wednesday amid the renewed attacks by communist rebels, including against members of Duterte’s security detail.
Agcaoili warned that Duterte is already “doing a Marcos” for his obsession with martial law.
“Well, the cat is out of the bag,” Agcaoili said. “Duterte is not for change or even a modicum of reforms in Philippine society. He is for a repeat of [Ferdinand] Marcos’ military rule and patronage politics under the old semi-colonial and semi-feudal system.”
“Duterte is now embarking on a very dangerous course of martial rule and mass murder in order to reshape the Philippines in his kanto-boy [street thug] image just as Marcos’ did in 1972 with his new society slogan,” he added.
In his meeting with members of the government peace panel, led by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III late Tuesday night, Duterte ordered the suspension of the fifth round of talks with the communists, which was supposed to resume by August.
Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza said that the resumption of formal talks would depend on the rebel group’s commitment to follow certain guidelines for a possible ceasefire deal with government—including the suspension of operations against the military and the police and stopping all their extortion activities.
This is not the first time wherein Duterte decided to scrap the formal peace talks. In May, both sides failed to resolve a dispute over the CPP’s order for the NPA to step up attacks against the government amid the proclamation of martial law in Mindanao.
Meanwhile, the Palace sent its condolences to the families of six policemen killed in an ambush by suspected New People’s Army members in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental.
“The Palace wishes to express its deepest condolences to the grieving families and relatives of the six policemen killed in yesterday morning’s ambush in Magsaysay, Guihulngan City in Negros Oriental,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
NPA gunmen allegedly killed the six policemen in an ambush in Negros Oriental on Friday. The victims were identified as Supt. Ariel Arpon, the chief of police of Guihulngan City; SPO2 Necasio Tabilon, PO3 Jordan Balderas, PO2 Alvin Paul Bulandres, PO2 Alfred Dunque and PO1 Abines Silvano.
The identity of the slain civilian, a driver of the municipal councilor, was not immediately available.
Two other policemen were wounded in the attack and were taken to a hospital in Dumaguete City.
Abella assured that the government will extend assistance to the wounded police officers.
“We assure everyone that we would not rest until justice is served against those responsible for this crime,” he added.
Early last week, NPA rebels struck in four separate areas in Luzon and Mindanao killing two Marine soldiers in Palawan and wounding of five members of the Presidential Security Group in Cotabato.
The NPA rebels also wounded an army soldier in a roadside explosion in Bataraza, Palawan.
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