Enrile to Rody: Think twice before dealing with CPP

Christina Mendez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Outgoing Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile advised yesterday incoming president Rodrigo Duterte to think twice before striking a deal with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

“They have to act with caution,” the 92-year-old Enrile said when asked to comment on Duterte’s dealing with exiled CPP founder Jose Maria Sison after the party was offered four Cabinet posts under the incoming administration.

The defense minister during martial law cited grave security implications in case Duterte pursues his plans to allow communist leaders to occupy key government posts without going through the legal process.

“Well, they better study it very well,” he said.

“There are security implications there. I am sure the incoming president is aware of the problem of a coalition with the Left. There are many examples of this like what happened in Russia, the coalition between the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks.” 

Enrile said it is up to the Duterte administration to draft a peace agreement or to give amnesty to members and officers of the CPP and the New People’s Army.

“It depends upon the policy,” he said. “That is part of his political decision. I am not in a position to advise him. He has good advisers at this point. All I can say is, the government must act with caution.”

Enrile reserved his comment on the composition of the upcoming administration, expressing belief that Duterte knows what he is doing.

He took note of the impending appointment of lawyer Vitaliano Aguirre to the justice portfolio. He said that Aguirre is a good lawyer. 

As for incoming House speaker Pantaleon  Alvarez, Enrile said he also knows him, but then, they were on opposite sides in the past administrations.

Enrile said Duterte should be given the chance to prove himself to the Filipino people on his plan to have curfews for minors and a liquor ban  nationwide.

“I am not familiar with the law,” he said. “But they should do something to legalize that power.” 

On Duterte’s call to stop crimes, among other policies, Enrile warned: “When you curtail liberties, you have to be careful.”

Sen. Sergio Osmeña III also shared the view that Duterte should be given the prerogative to choose the members of his Cabinet. 

“I have no problem with that,” he said. “But of course, it depends on the individual and (the appointees) will have to undergo (scrutiny) of the Commission on Appointments. So I leave it to the wisdom of the CA.” Osmeña spoke on the sidelines of the Senate inquiry into the $81-million cyber heist from the Bangladesh Central Bank.

Former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said New People’s Army (NPA) members should renounce their allegiance to communism before joining the government.

“There is no problem with that,” he said. “For as long as they will renounce their affiliation with the communists, why not?”  – With Jose Rodel Clapano



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