Duterte tells state forces to be prepared after ending talks with communists
President Rodrigo Duterte warned on Friday the government security forces to be ready after he formally ordered the termination of the peace talks with the communist rebels.
In a speech during the 67th founding anniversary of the First Scout Ranger Regiment in Camp Tecson, San Miguel, Bulacan, Duterte said he issued a proclamation ending the peace negotiations with Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front.
"The communist is threatening us...there will be a virulent confrontation between the NPAs (and the government forces). Be prepared for that," he said.
But he assured the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police that they will be provided with their needs to face the NPA threat, as well as that of the terrorists.
"I will not allow a weak military or police," he said, adding, "I will buy all the things that you would need, the tools that you have to use."
Duterte told the government forces not to be afraid to die.
"All of us will die anyhow. But take comfort that we, in government, have prepared for these eventualities," he said.
He reiterated his assurance that the state would take care of their families.
"I do not want to --- It leaves a bad taste in the mouth to say this but your children will be protected. We will assume the responsibility," he said.
With the termination of the peace talks, he said those some 20 rebel leaders who were released from detention due to the peace talks should surrender, otherwise they will be pursued.
"Now, I will consider the movement of the Communist Party of the Philippines as a terrorist group and I am ordering those I have released temporarily to surrender or face again punitive actions," he said.
"You have to go back where you belong. I released you because I thought it might help. If you can't help, then you are undercutting me before the eyes of the Filipino people, ah you must be joking. You must be joking because I will go after you. And I do not really care whatever happens thereafter," Duterte said.
Edre Olalia, legal consultant of the NDF negotiating panel, said the suspension of bail of the 19 NDF consultants and staff was not automatic following Duterte's statement.
"But it is not automatic, unilateral or upon the mere say so of anybody or even by a public declaration. There is a process to be faithfully observed," he said.
He said the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, through its authorized lawyers, are duty bound to file the necessary motions in court, while the NDF consultants through their lawyers are given a real opportunity to comment or oppose through a hearing.
He said the proper court must weigh the facts, grounds and arguments of both sides before
deciding on the GRP motion.
"It is always and ultimately both a political and personal decision what courses of action the NDFP consultants would make under the present circumstances and atmosphere and taking into full account their own or others' similar experience. Their lawyers will as a matter of course and duty give them the advise and options available," he said.
However, he insisted that these consultants and staff, including CPP leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, were "arrested illegally, even tortured, compelled to confront improper or trumped-up charges, presented manufactured evidence and pejurious professional or coached witnesses, endured subhuman prison conditions, and basically penalized for performing their multifaceted tasks not only as peace consultants but as arduous advocates for fundamental reforms."
Olalia added that the Philippine government should still send a written notice to the appropriate entity of the NDF regarding its declaration to terminate the peace talks.
Upon receipt and corresponding aknowledgment that it is in order, the termination shall technically be deemed effective only after 30 days from from such receipt, he added.
Asked when the government would send formal notice to the NDF terminating the peace negotiations, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said, "let's watch first." Celerina Monte/DMS