PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday claimed that some leftist party-list groups are using government funds to aid the communist insurgency and that is one of the reasons he is insisting the abrogation of the party-list representation in Congress.
“That is why I disagree with that party-list [system]. If it’s not controlled by one family, children and spouses, there are also communists there,” Duterte told army troopers during a visit to the headquarters of the First “Tabak” Division in Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur.
“The money, where will it go? To their groups so they can buy guns,” he added, reiterating that he will insist the removal of the party-list system in the new Constitution that he hopes the 17th Congress will produce within his term.
“If there will be a change in the [new] Constitution, which is being discussed now, I will no longer allow party-lists,” Duterte said.
Although the party-list system was provided by the 1987 Constitution, its enabling law—Republic Act No. 7941—was not enacted until 1995 and was only implemented in the elections of 1998.
Arguing that the Philippine “national democratic” movement should also engage in parliamentary struggle, some left-leaning groups were able to utilize the system with success even as their comrades pressed with their armed struggled in the countryside.
In a separate speech, Duterte expressed disapproval to the communist movement’s practice of collecting so-called “revolutionary taxes” from communities.
“That is not taxation, it’s extortion,” Duterte said. “They survive because of extortion money.”
“The [New People Army] are crazy. They are boastful, just like [Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Ma.] Sison. You NPA are s*** of b******,” he added.
Duterte noted that he had wanted a ceasefire enforced but he was piqued when the communists attacked a group of militiament in Davao del Norte.
He said he was irritated because the CPP-NPA keeps on complaining about government violations of international agreements like the Geneva Conventions and yet they employ land mines that are also prohibited by international agreements.
“Women and children who are part of the war are also victims of your landmines,” Duterte said. “Now they want to know when we will have a ceasefire.”
Noting that peace talks are set to resume on August 20, Duterte reiterated that he is no longer inclined to agree to a ceasefire.
“If I again hear a single report that another soldier or policeman is again killed or even wounded, then forget it. We will end the peace talks. It’s up to you,” he said.
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