President Rodrigo Duterte, who has waged a war against drug syndicates including their protectors in the government and the uniformed services, has been regularly updated on the security threats against him.
Palace/Released
Security tightened around Duterte after NPA hit list bared
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - December 19, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Presidential Security Group (PSG) has intensified security for President Duterte following threats from the communist New People’s Army (NPA) that marks its 50th anniversary on Dec. 26.

Apart from the communist rebels, drug lords and criminal syndicates have also placed the Chief Executive on their hit list, according to PSG commander Brig. Gen. Jose Ariel Niembra.

“We are expecting that because the Communist Party of the Philippines will celebrate their anniversary this coming Dec. 26. Normally, during this period, we expect that they will beef up their developments and their targets,” Niembra said yesterday.

“We expect that the President is number one in their list so as to the preparations and hardening of procedures, we keep it to ourselves. But rest assured we are doing something,” he said.

Duterte, who has waged a war against drug syndicates including their protectors in the government and the uniformed services, has been regularly updated on the security threats against him.

Niembra admitted Duterte has sometimes opted not to follow their advice but “we do everything we can to protect our President. Our work is focused on ensuring that we have a living President day by day.”

Niembra said they have received information that Duterte topped the NPA hit list and they are not taking such threats lightly.

“We have received information that the President is the number one target, not only of the CPP-NPA but of the drug lords and syndicate groups,” he said.

“We take it seriously, it is not a joking matter because it is the life of the President and the survival of the country,” he added.

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. confirmed the President is in

the NPA hit list, along with Interior Secretary Eduardo Año and other top government officials.

Esperon said the intelligence was obtained through captured documents.

Esperon, however, said he did not see Vice President Leni Robredo’s name in the supposed NPA hit list.

“I only saw the names of Secretary Año, Secretary (Allen) Capuyan and other officers which to us is something that is expected or part of the hazard of the job,” Esperon said, referring to the former military colonel appointed as chief of the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).

Pressed if Duterte adheres to security protocols, Niembra said the Chief Executive sometimes gives them a hard time but knows how to handle himself as well as his limitations.

In fact, Niembra said the President is not keen on giving up his hobby of riding motorcycles. He wants to continue riding his bikes, prompting them to allow him to do so within the confines of the PSG compound.

Niembra quoted the President as saying he’d (Duterte) rather die riding a motorcycle than die lying down.  

“(Riding motorcycle) has been his passion, he said. He will live and die riding a motorcycle,” Niembra said.

Despite their concerns, Niembra said Duterte has a plan to ride his bike and go around Metro Manila anytime during the holidays.    – With Jaime Laude

DUTERTE NPA
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