CPP heeds Duterte’s call for cooperation in war vs prohibited drugs

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 03 July) — The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has heeded the call of President Rodrigo Duterte for cooperation in the war against prohibited drugs, claiming they have long waged an anti-illegal drugs campaign.

“In positive response, the CPP reiterates its standing order for the NPA (New People’s Army) to carry out operations to disarm and arrest the chieftains of the biggest drug syndicates, as well as other criminal syndicates involved in human rights violations and destruction of the environment. The NPA is ready to give battle to those who will resist arrest with armed violence,” it said.

During Friday’s turn over of command at the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Quezon City, Duterte, who vowed to end criminality and drugs within the first three to six months of his term, urged the NPA to use their “kangaroo courts” to prosecute and kill the drug traffickers to expedite the solution on illegal drugs.

“Well, nakikinig naman ‘yung mga NPA, nasa pwesto pa naman kayo. Ano kaya ‘yung korte nito,‘yung korte ninyo. Korte ninyo, I don’t know if it’s a kangaroo or otherwise. E, patayin nalang ninyo para mas madali ang masolusyon ang problema natin” (Well, the NPA is listening, you’re still in place. What if your courts, I don’t know if it’s a kangaroo or otherwise. E, just kill them so we can easily solve the problem).

In a statement published on July 2 on ndfp.org, the CPP said they have long waged a campaign against illegal drugs by disarming and arresting for prosecution and just punishment the most notorious criminals who are also involved in big illegal drug operations.

It said they employed armed violence against biggest illegal drug traffickers and used a cultural revolution among the masses to detest illegal-drug use.

The statement also noted that the CPP shares with Duterte the reprehension against illegal drugs and its grave effects on the Filipino people.

“The proliferation of illegal drugs, especially shabu, and the concomitant rise in incidents of violent crime serves the perpetuation of the ruling system,” it said, adding that the biggest and most notorious drug traffickers “are those in the top echelons of the AFP and PNP, who are also in cohorts, with key officials in the local and national bureaucracy. It is apparent that President Duterte is fully aware of such.”

The CPP claimed that they were successful in their fight against drugs within their territories, what with their “vigilance and militance” in opposition to the entry and operations of the illegal drugs.

It said the most recent case is that of a chief of police in Davao Oriental province who was arrested by the NPA last May 29 and is currently under detention and undergoing investigation for involvement in the illegal drug trade.

In a statement dated June 1, the Regional Operations Command of the NPA in Southern Mindanao said they took Chief Insp. Arnold Ongachen, chief of police of Governor Generoso town in Davao Oriental. The NPA said they confiscated from Ongachen a sachet of shabu.

In his press conference on May 31, Duterte called on the NPA to release the police chief kung wala namang kasalanan (if he did not commit a crime), release (him) immediately.”

He added that if the NPA does not release the police chief, he would “go to the mountains” to get him from the NPA.

But Duterte changed his mind on June 2, following the NPA’s claim that a sachet was seized from Ongachen.

“Sorry for that guy. I leave his fate to the NPA,” Duterte told a press conference.

He said the NPA commander asked him what to do with the police chief. He said he told him “you have a kangaroo court there, you try him and sentence him to 20 years hard labor.”

In its July 2 statement, the CPP, detested the use of “kangaroo court” in reference to the their judicial system, claiming they observe due process.

Resumption of peace talks

On the last day of the two-day “Hugpong sa kalinaw” at the Davao City Recreation Center on Tuesday,  CPP founder Jose Maria Sison, in a video message, announced the resumption of formal peace talks between Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front sometime third week this month.

The resumption was made possible following the June 14 and 15 talks between Sison and the NDF peace panel led by Luis Jalandoni with then returning Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza and incoming government chief negotiator Silvestre Bello III.

The parties agreed to resume the formal peace talks by the third week of January.

Sison said the resumption will be most likely on the third or fourth week, pending the release of their 21 consultants.

“We need more time with regards to the release of the consultants,” he said.

In their Joint Statement last month, the parties agreed on a five-point agenda for the July talks: the affirmation of previously signed agreements; accelerated process for negotiations, including the timeline for the completion of the remaining substantive agenda for the talks, socio-economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms, and end of hostilities and disposition of forces; reconstitution of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASISG) list; Amnesty Proclamation for the release of all detained political prisoners, subject to concurrence by Congress; and mode of interim ceasefire.

“Let us look forward to the success of the first formal talks in the time of the Duterte government. The success of these will lead to further hard work by the principals, negotiators, consultants, ceasefire monitors and other focused personnel of the negotiating parties and to further inputs and support from all the peace-loving forces and people,” Sison said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)