MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte said members of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) politburo are now either “millionaires” or “billionaires” because of deceived insurgents who continue to be subservient to them.
“Itong mga lider nila sa politburo puro milyonaryo, bilyonaryo ‘yan (Their leaders in politburo are already millionaires and billionaires),” Duterte said in an interview with SMNI’s “Exclusive” aired on Tuesday night.
The CPP’s politburo serves as its policymakers.
Duterte said it is a “hard” reality that members of the communists’ policy-making body are getting richer at the expense of deceived rebels collecting taxes everywhere, even in Metro Manila.
“Kaya maraming pera ang Politburo. Puro mayaman, sa karamihan sa kanila wala dito, nasa Amerika, nasa Europe (That’s why Politburo members have plenty of money. They are rich and many of them are not here. They are either in America or Europe). And they are being sustained by the taxation collected by these poor people,” he said.
Duterte also reiterated that Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate is among those using rebel taxation to pay for his son’s education in Europe.
“As a matter of fact, ‘yung mga anak ng mga Politburo, the leaders, ang nag-aral doon sa Europe. Prominent of which is ‘yong anak ni Zarate (As a matter of fact, the children of politburo members or leaders are studying in Europe. Prominent of which is Zarate’s son). He is strutting around the universities in Europe,” he said.
Fighting ‘without a cause anymore’
Lamenting that the communist guerillas are suffering from hunger while their leaders are enjoying a luxurious lifestyle, Duterte said the communist movement is “fighting without a cause anymore.”
“That’s the irony of it all,” “he said. “Naaawa ako diyan sa mga sundalo nagpapakamatay, ‘yung iba, ilibing lang diyan sa gubat (I pity the rebels who die and get buried in the forest). And their families are never informed that their loved ones have already died. Naaawa ako dito sa mga taong ito kasi wala ka talagang kamuwang-muwang (I pity them because they have no idea at all).”
Duterte, nevertheless, said the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) is “trying to win” the members of the CPP’s armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), to convince them to be reintegrated into mainstream society.
“Ang akin is itong (I have the) [NTF-]ELCAC, itong the whole-of-the-nation approach. It has funding and they are trying to win itong mga sundalo (the rebels),” he said.
The NTF-ELCAC, created by virtue of Executive Order 70 issued on Dec. 4, 2018, is mandated to “provide an efficient mechanism and structure for the implementation of the whole-of-nation approach to aid in the realization of collective aspirations for inclusive and sustainable peace.”
No more peace talks with ‘arrogant’ CPP
Duterte, on the other hand, said peace talks with the CPP’s political wing, the National Democratic Front, are “dead in its tracks.”
He said he would no longer talk peace with “arrogant” communists.
“Wala na. Ayaw ko nang makipag-usap eh. Eh kasi arogante (No more talks. I don’t want it anymore because they are arrogant),” Duterte said. “It would appear that the participation of the governance is just too much. Too much has been asked.”
‘Lasting, sustainable’ peace
Duterte, nonetheless, assured the public that he would fulfill his promise to attain “lasting and sustainable” peace in the country.
“So since the beginning of my presidency, we have shown our determination in combatting insurgency and terrorism with the end goal of attaining lasting sustainable peace in the country,” he said.
His administration, he said, is busy eradicating terrorism and insurgency that have been plaguing the country for a long time.
“We will also continue our socio-economic development mechanism that will address the root cause of our peace and order problem. We need to win the hearts and minds of our people so that they would not easily fall prey to the manipulative skills of these insurgents and extremist groups,” he said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines
Meantime, Duterte also guaranteed that he has maintained his approach to be a “hardliner” as he continues the fight illegal drugs, corruption in government, and criminality.
“Ako talaga ay hardliner. And ganoon talaga ako, noon pa, hardliner ako (I am really a hardliner. And I have been a hardliner even before),” Duterte said.
His resolve is to pursue a relentless campaign against drug offenders, corrupt government workers, and criminals until his term ends in 2022.
Duterte maintained that he would do everything to live up to his promise, adding that he is ready to show his “violent” side to keep his vow to protect his fellow Filipinos.
“You destroy my country, I will have to tell you that you bring out the worst in me, (the) violent side of my persona. Eh naaawa ako sa bayan ko (I pity my country),” he said.
‘Lessening’ of illegal drugs
Amid his government’s anti-narcotics drive, a “lessening” of illegal drugs has been observed, Duterte said.
He attributed the successful fight against illegal drugs to “better intelligence.”
Duterte then reiterated his warning against drug personalities that he is willing to “trade his soul to the devil” and “go to hell” to stop their illicit activities.
“So evil to evil tayo (So, that is evil to evil). And do not ever, ever think that you are the only one who can do evil things kasi ako, marunong din akong bumaba sa impyerno (because I can go to hell) to really meet you where you want it to be,” he said.
Friends not exempted
Duterte also reassured the public that he has zero tolerance for corruption.
His friends in government who will be proven guilty of corruption will not be spared from his firing spree, he said.
“Ako kaibigan tayo pero sinabi ko naman sa kanila iyan, huwag kayong pumasok sa corruption (I have told my friends not to get involved in corruption),” Duterte said. “Basta ako sa corruption, talagang yayariin kita (When it comes to corruption, I will go after you). I do not have to announce it to the public.”
He said he would just do his job of getting rid of corrupt public servants “silently.” (PNA)