In this file photo from November 2018, President Duterte interacts with Philippine Army reservists during the 35th Army Reserve Command founding anniversary at Camp General Mariano Riego De Dios in Tanza, Cavite.
File photo
No mercy for NPAs, Duterte says
Alexis Romero ( - December 18, 2018 - 8:55pm

MANILA, Philippines — Members of the communist New People's Army do not deserve mercy, President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday, as he chided the rebels for promoting violence and for committing crimes. 

Duterte claimed the NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, is no longer composed of revolutionaries but but "criminals" who are out to destroy the country. 

"You do not deserve mercy," the president said during a summit of barangay executives in Davao City.  

"The NPAs are criminals. They are just plain bandits and that's how we should treat them," Duterte, who has claimed past membership in the underground Kabataang Makabayan, added. 

Duterte made the statement hours after his executive secretary Salvador Medialdea said the president would not declare a holiday ceasefire with the rebels. 

The president said communists have disrupted the peaceful lives of lumads or indigenous peoples. He also alleged that the rebels are no longer following an ideology but are now "market-driven." 

Duterte: I want to finish communists, drugs during my term

Duterte, who previously vowed to talk peace with communists, said "not in a billion years" would rebels seize power from government

"Who are you to impose your will on the people without even getting one vote? This country is a democracy. Leaders are elected. Leaders may be son of a b**** but if he is chosen by the people, we have to respect their choice," the president said. 

The president also claimed there is no need for an arrest warrant when apprehending rebels because they are violating laws against rebellion. 

According to the Revised Penal Code, rebellion "is committed by rising publicly and taking arms against the Government for the purpose of removing from the allegiance to said Government or its laws, the territory of the Republic of the Philippines or any part thereof, of any body of land, naval or other armed forces, or depriving the Chief Executive or the Legislature, wholly or partially, of any of their powers or prerogatives."

Duterte said: "By the fact that you are a rebel, you are a 24-hour violator of the revised criminal code, act of rebellion."

Duterte reiterated that he would put an end to the communists' decades-old armed struggle before he steps down. 

"Yung komunista gusto ko tapusin, pati yung droga (I want to finish communism and illegal drugs). I want it done within my term," the Philippine leader said. 

Earlier, Duterte said he would create a civilian armed unit that would counter the NPA sparrow unit, a group blamed for the killing of soldiers, policemen and former communists. Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo later on clarified that the president was just floating an idea that has to be studied by government forces. 

Duterte's first year in office saw a return to formal peace talks with the communist rebels, with the former Davao City mayor saying he is the first president from the Left.

He changed his stance after a series of NPA attacks in 2017 and growing opposition to martial law in Mindanao.

The communists, including CPP founder Jose Ma. Sison, have since been among the targets of his fiery speeches.

CPP: Military on all-out offensive in Northern Mindanao

In a press statement, the Communist Party of the Philippines said the militay has been conducting an "all-out military offensive and massive the boundaries of Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon and Agusan del Sur provinces."

Citing reports from the NPA, the communists said more than 400 military and police personnel have been deployed in the Kalabugan area. 

"By mounting non-stop combat operations and incessant shelling and bombing, however, the AFP is spoiling the peace and holiday preparations of the residents in the community. Also, they have doused on the high hopes of their foot soldiers to have a brief respite during the holidays to be with their families," the CPP, which is marking its 50th anniversary this month.

It said shelling and bombardment has affected the livelihoods of lumad residents in areas of Claveria, Misamir Oriental; Impasug-ong, Bukidnon; and Esperanza, Agusan del Sur.

It also claimed that government troops have suffered at least 14 casualties in clashes with NPA units in the area.

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