TULUNAN, North Cotabato (MindaNews / 27 April) – Prof. Jose Maria Sison, founding chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has committed to come home to talk peace, Davao City mayor and Presidential frontrunner Rodrigo Duterte announced before a crowd of civilians and members of the New People’s Army (NPA) Tuesday afternoon during the release of a soldier the NPA held captive for five days. (see other story)
He said among the first things he would do if becomes President is to immediately declare a ceasefire.
PEACE. Young members of the New People’s Army welcome Davao City Mayor and Presidential frontrunner Rodrigo Duterte upon his arrival to receive Army Private First Class Edgardo Hilaga of the 7th Infantry Battallion in an upland village in Tulunan, North Cotabato on April 26, 2016. Hilaga was freed by the NPA after five days in captivity. MindaNews photo by TOTO LOZANO
Duterte narrated that the night before (April 25), he spoke with Sison via Skype and told his former professor on Political Thought, “pauli diri kay magstorya ta” (come home and let’s talk).
He said Sison agreed to come home during their Skype conversation in a venue with some military officials in attendance but added they did not know he was talking with Sison in another room.
Duterte did not say where the venue was but the night before, he was at the birthday celebration of his spiritual adviser, Pastor Apollo Quiboloy of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Quiboloy claims to be “The Appointed Son of God.”
After his speech at the barangay plaza Tuesday, Duterte told reporters that as President, he would immediatley declare a ceasefire with the National Democratic Front (NDF) to pave the way for the resumption of peace talks.
He said he suggested to Sison that “pag-uwi nya, ceasefire agad” (ceasefire as soon as he returns home).
The Presidential frontrunner was the speaker at the graduation rites of Lyceum on April 23 where he narrated that Sison was his professor on Political Thought “and that’s why he contaminated us early on and we became the first KM (Kabataang Makabayan members).”
Sison was founding chair of the KM.
“If I make it God-willing to the Presidency, I will be the first Left President in this country,” Duterte said.
LIKE BROTHERS. A policeman shakes hand with members of the New Peoples Army after the latter released Private First Class Edgardo Hilaga of the 7th Infantry Battallion in Tulunan, North Cotabato on April 26, 2016. Hilaga was captured at a checkpoint in Makilala five days earlier. MindaNews photo by TOTO LOZANO
He has repeatedly said in speeches before and during the campaign that he is a socialist, is not a member of the CPP and does not believe in armed struggle.
The lone Mindanawon candidate told the crowd here that he opted to eventually run is for President when he realized that not one among the Presidential candidates was talking about Mindanao, about the peace processes that need to be attended to with the NPA, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
He talked about how the elite has been running this country for decades. He explained he would not have minded if government funds had been spent for the common good and not to line the pockets of the corrupt.
“Mao ning magrebolusyon ta ug akoy ma Presidente. Gub-on ko ning gobyernoha. Magtindog kog bag-o” (That is why we will wage a revolution if I become President. I will destroy this government. I will set up a new one), Duterte said. The crowd laughed but applauded when he said, “Ubani ko ninyo” (Be with me).
“Ilisdan ni nako ning gobyernoha. Magrebolusyon kog naa na ko didto kay dili ni para sa tao, dili ni matabang ug kaning Constitution nato (We will change this governemnt. I will wage a revolution if I am there because this government is not for the people, this can’t be helped under the present Constitution), he added.
The lone Mindanawon candidate is also the lone candidate among five contenders who is espousing a change in the system of government, from the unitary, Presidential, highly centralized form to the federal, parliamentary system.
The shift to federalism, however, requires amending the 1987 Constitution.
REVOLT FROM THE INSIDE. Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte vows to “change the government” and “revolt from the inside” if he becomes President during his speech at the release ceremonies for Army Private First Class Edgardo Hilaga who was freed by the New People’s Army on April 26, 2016, five days after he was arrested in a checkpoint in Malasila, Makilala. MindaNews photo by TOTO LOZANO
In earlier prounoncements he vowed to set up a revolutionary government and abolish Congress if he cannot effect change within six months should he become President.
“We will change this government. Pag naa na ko, muingon ko nga (when I become President, I will say) I will revolt from the inside, dili hinuan nga revolt nga magpatay. Naa koy back-up sa katawhan, back up ko sa tanan, ang miltary ug pulis musunod na lang na (not a bloody revolt, though. I will be backed up by the people, backed up by all, the military and police will just follow), he told the crowd here.
He said he wants government workers to remember that government funds are not personal funds.
“Ayaw kuhaa nang kwarta sa mga tao kay binayran ka man” (Do not get the people’s money because you are paid to do your work), he said.
“Usbon gyud nako ang utok sa Pilipino. Kinahanglan kaming taga-gobyerno ma-realize gyud namo nga kami suluguon lang” (I will really change the mindset of the Filipino. We must in government realize that we are mere servants of the people), said Duterte, a government prosecutor for 11 years, appointed OIC vice mayor from 1986 to 1988, elected mayor for seven terms (1988-1998; 2001-2010; 2013-2016), representative of the first district (1998-2001) and vice mayor (2010-2013).
If he wins the Presidency, the Filipino people should not expect him to have an oath-taking at the Luneta because he does not want to disturb traffic and would rather have his oath-taking in his office.
Duterte said the traditional oath-taking would also require him to feed the rich who do not need to be fed, anyway. If he will have to spend, he said, he would rather that the money intended for the inauguration be used to feed the poor.
He ended his 29-minute speech by raising his right fist and saying “Mabuhay ang NPA, Mabuhay ang NDF, mabuhay si Duterte” (Long live the NPA, Long live the NDF, Long live Duterte).
It wasn’t the first time he did that during a release ceremony. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)