By Daniel Llanto | FilAm Star Correspondent
Given the chance, President Duterte said he would kill Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison for the death of government troops in the hands of CPP-controlled New People’s Army (NPA) rebels and also for calling the President a bully because of his supposed iron-fist policies.
For the NPA attacks on government facilities and personnel even while peace negotiations were going on, as well as the name-calling, an enraged Duterte vowed to now no longer talk with communist rebels and instead, focus his quest for peace with Muslim rebels.
“Correct ka diyan, 100 per cent,” Duterte addressed the self-exiled Sison referring to the latter’s “bully” tag. “I bully people who want to overthrow the government, that is my job,” Duterte said.
“I am here to bully you and to kill you because there’s a war going on between us and you are killing my soldiers,” he said. “Maybe, I will kill you if I have the chance.”
“No more (peace) talk, let’s fight,” Duterte said as he called the CPP-NPA enemies of the state. “I’ll save money, buy new equipment, the precision-guided missile.”
In his State of the Nation Address (SONA), Duterte said he will order soldiers and police to shoot the rebels if they continue their atrocities against government forces. “You do anarchy, I will order soldiers and the police to shoot even if I have to bury thousands of Filipinos,” he added.
Duterte said the communists crossed the line when they seized housing units in Bulacan intended for uniformed personnel. The government allowed use of the units but realized in time that the occupants were militants masquerading as urban poor.
The President admitted that he is sometimes discouraged by the challenges to his administration but he is not giving up on peace. “Sometimes I am almost tempted to conclude that peace might not be able to come during our lifetime. But believe me, it will not be for want of trying,” he said.
Duterte claimed knowledge that the CPP asked the NPA, its armed wing, to carry out offensives across the country to resist his bid to extend martial law in Mindanao.
Initially set on May 27 to June 1, the fifth round of peace talks was called off by Duterte due to intensified attacks by the NPA against government forces in Mindanao despite the declaration of martial law. Four members of the Presidential Security Group were wounded when they were ambushed by NPA rebels in Arakan, North Cotabato on July 19.
Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa agreed that it makes no sense now to talk to the communists. The NPA is deceiving the government into peace talks to gain time to recruit new members, Dela Rosa told reporters.
Dela Rosa said the government should realize that the NPA is not sincere in promoting peace in the country. He expressed support for the President’s decision to suspend peace negotiations with the communist group.
“I support the pronouncement of the President. We should learn our lesson. We should not resume the peace talks unless the rebels stop their hostilities,” the PNP chief told reporters.
Dela Rosa said the rebels should blame themselves for the stalled peace talks or if the negotiations would be abandoned altogether.
Duterte was once a student of communist leader Sison when the latter taught at University of the Philippines. A self-confessed left sympathizer who was once affiliated with Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Duterte said his views about the movement have changed.
He suggested that Sison is being consumed by old age and disease. “Matanda na ito. Sison is sick. May colon cancer,” Duterte claimed. This was denied by Sison at an interview in the Netherlands.