Lorenzana says care needed in organizing Duterte hit squad
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he is supporting President Rodrigo Duterte's plan on creating a sparrow unit but he will be careful in organizing this.
In a TV interview on Tuesday, Lorenzana said the president is very serious with his announcement on creating a unit that will counter the sparrow units of the communist New People's Army (NPA) as they have been discussing about it. These special NPA units are formally known as Special Partisan Units but also known as Sparu.
"He was serious. I think he treats with serious (ness) the killing of soldiers and policemen. Now my thoughts, I was asked by the media. I am supporting it per se. The anti-sparrow units protect our soldiers but let us be careful in organizing these people," he said.
"Now some quarters are saying we should get civilians. I think no, it's very difficult. They might take it upon themselves they have blanket authority to just kill anybody," he added.
Lorenzana said he wants soldiers as members of anti-sparrow units supervised by officers and have go- signal from officials for accountability and responsibility.
"It should be carefully vetted," he said.
Lorenzana said they will not form an "assassination squad" after Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri said he is not in favor of the president's proposal as it will be similar to extrajudicial killings.
"He has a point there but we are not exactly an assassination squad. We are not assassinating officials but we are going to neutralize any NPA force or individuals who are going to hurt our soldiers. We cannot just stand by and watch our soldiers being killed by the NPA," he said.
Last week, Duterte said he would form a "death squad" to match the sparrow units of the communist rebels, adding it would also help in his administration's fight against illegal drugs because "it's a national security matter." Ella Dionisio/DMS