Duterte tells Reds if they want to hold power, they have to be elected; Palace expects more encounters between govt troops, NPA
President Rodrigo Duterte has said if the communist rebels want to hold power, they should get themselves elected.
This as Malacanang expressed belief there could be more armed encounters between the government forces and the New People's Army due to the termination of peace talks and after Duterte tagged the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA as a terror group.
"The executive department and the Republic of the Philippines is not a private property. So if you guys, you Reds, if you want to hold power, get yourself elected," Duterte said on Wednesday night in an event in Pasay City.
"Then, if you are there already, do what you want and do it for the country because otherwise, you’ll have to contend with the military and the police," he added.
According to Duterte, the CPP-NPA-National Democratic Front wanted to have a coalition government, which he could not allow.
Meanwhile, in a press briefing on Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque urged the public to be vigilant from possible attacks of the NPA.
"Well, I think the reality is with the halt of the peace talks there would be more military encounters between the Armed Forces and the New People’s Army. We need to be more vigilant," he said.
The communist rebels have been included in the target of military operations under the extended martial law declaration in Mindanao.
Roque allayed fears that with one-year martial law in southern Philippines, there could be a return of dictatorial rule.
"But I think we have shown for the entire period that martial law has been imposed in Mindanao. That this is not the same martial law that we had in 1972. Courts remain functioning, Congress remains existing, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution is enforced," he said.
"So I don’t think there’s been any legal basis for the fears of many that there will be the return of dictatorial rule, neither has there been any systematic or gross violations of human rights so far," he added.
Congress approved a request from Duterte to further extend martial law for one year beginning Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2018. Celerina Monte/DMS