Duterte only wants progressive groups to condemn armed struggle â Palace
President Rodrigo Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on July 30, 2020.
Presidential Photo/Simeon Celi, Jr.

Duterte only wants progressive groups to condemn armed struggle — Palace

Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - December 1, 2020 - 7:05pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte only wants the so-called legal fronts to renounce armed violence, Malacañang said Tuesday, as it advised progressive lawmakers to "get real" and admit their ties with the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said while mere affiliation with the CPP is not a crime, the party cannot be separated from the New People's Army, the armed wing of the communist rebels.

"Well, if it may not be a crime but they (legal fronts) have consistently been lying. They have been saying that the legal fronts have nothing to do with the CPP. For me, hello, since the time of (the late president) Cory (Aquino), being a member of the CPP has been decriminalized. Come out with it and admit, 'Yes, we are members of the Communist Party of the Philippines,'” Roque said at a press briefing.

"But the crime is, the New People’s Army because that is a crime of rebellion, taking up of arms against the government, killing civilians and soldiers. So, the problem with them is you cannot separate the CPP from the NPA that's why their statements are always signed CPP-NPA. That's illegal. The fact is if you are a member of CPP, you can be legal but you have to renounce the use of arms," he added.

Roque said lawmakers who belong to progressive party lists should stop their "lies" about red-baiting. The lawmakers, the Palace spokesman added, can be "red" without necessarily endorsing the use of arms.

"They are good in parliamentary politics, they are elected and they have the most number of representatives among partylist groups. Why not renounce the use of arms? That's only thing being asked," Roque said.

"Pero habang hindi nila niri-renounce at habang sila ay nakikibahagi pa dito sa paggamit ng dahas at sandata laban sa Republika, kriminal po iyan (But as long as they do not renounce it and while they are taking part in the use of violence and arms against the republic, that's a crime). But first and foremost, let’s be honest," he added.  

Asked to react to Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Carlos Zarate's claim that Duterte's tirade against progressive groups was just a diversionary tactic, Roque replied: "Magpakatotoo ka (Get real). That’s all I can say and I have to say to him."

"They are really communists, hello. That's why the president is angry. Now, as to whether or not we need to prove that NPA is engaged in an armed struggle, again, hello, do we need proof that NPA is sino ba naman ang kailangan pa ng pruweba that the NPA is engaged in armed struggle?" he added.

"That's why the appeal of the president of the SND (secretary of national defense), is for them to renounce the armed struggle, then there would be no problem."

During a meeting of the government's pandemic task force last Monday, Duterte said parties that belong to the House Makabayan bloc and progressive group Bayan are not being "red-tagged" but are being identified as members of a "grand conspiracy" under the National Democratic Front. The NDF used to represent the communists in the peace talks with the government.

"The Armed Forces of the Philippines is very correct. You are being identified as the members of the communist," Duterte said.

"We are not tagging you. We are identifying you as communist. It’s a grand conspiracy. So the liability of a mere soldier, is the liability of all the members of the organizations, iyong mga front... You are friends with the NPA, you are co-conspirators. You are a communist. I have known that for a long time," he added.

Duterte also lambasted CPP founder Jose Maria Sison "bobo (stupid)" and claimed that Zarate reminded him of dog excrement. He also mentioned the death of Jevilyn Cullamat, daughter of Bayan Muna Rep. Euphemia Cullamat, who was killed in a clash with the military last Saturday in Surigao del Sur.

"Look at what happened to Cullamat. Her daughter, she will surely die. You ask a woman to fight with soldiers? She will surely die," the president said.

Duterte said lumads or indigenous tribes will become extinct if the clashes continue.

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