Malacañang has defended President Duterte’s order to the police and military to shoot any armed member of the New People’s Army.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that it’s either the military or police will get shot if they don’t fire at armed NPA.
“An armed NPA is a fighter who is a valid military target given that they are engaged in a non-intentional armed conflict with [the] government. They are also engaged in armed rebellion which is a crime,” he said.
“I assure you, no armed NPA will surrender to [the] authorities. The options are to shoot at an armed rebel or for our men in uniformed to be shot at by them,” he added.
Critics have slammed Duterte’s order, saying it is against the law and the Constitution. They also said that there are processes to determine if the charges against the communists are true and impose appropriate penalties.
Duterte issued the order to shoot armed NPA during the send-off ceremony for five Vietnamese fishermen caught poaching in Philippine waters last Wednesday.
“You see it almost every day without fail, NPA’s burning the equipment of business interest, foreign nationals. Kapag ganito, and you live of the, not with the fat of the land but the fat of the pockets of… kinukolekta lahat, and extortion. So what will be my order to the (government forces), shoot them, they will kill you anyway,” Duterte said. “So if there is an armed NPA there or terrorist, if he’s holding a firearm – shoot,” he added.
Duterte also said during the occasion that an executive order declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA- National Democratic Front as terrorists will be issued after the termination of the peace talks with the Reds.
Roque has said that Duterte’s order is well within bounds. “Because anyone who bears arms is (fusing) rebellion. The crime of rebellion is a crime of taking up arms against the government. So natural,” Roque said. (Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos)