‘Butangero in power’: Joma slams Duterte after bombing threat vs NPA
Posted at Aug 22 2018 09:08 AM | Updated as of Aug 22 2018 09:24 AM
MANILA – Communist leader Joma Sison on Wednesday branded President Rodrigo Duterte as a “butangero” or ruffian who does not know how to handle power after he threatened to bomb guerilla fighters if they continue attacking state troops.
The President, who postponed the resumption of formal peace talks with the rebels last June, warned Tuesday that he will “freely use all the jets to bomb” communists if hostilities continue.
“If I hurt civilians, then it’s part of the territory,” the President added.
“Duterte is a brutal guy who likes to intimidate people and impress people that he is a strongman. He’s very capable of violence,” the Netherlands-based Sison said in a Skype interview with ABS-CBN News’ Christian Esguerra.
“This is a coward who has gotten to power and he doesn’t know how to handle that power… You have a butangero in power for the first time in Philippine history,” added the founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Duterte, a former student of Sison, earlier promised to end the decades-old communist rebellion. As a show of commitment, he freed some communist leaders, put leftists in his Cabinet and repeatedly invited Sison to come home from his 3-decade self-exile.
The President, however, abandoned peace efforts after alleged rebel attacks. He also declared the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, as terrorist organizations.
“The principal interest of Duterte in killing the peace negotiations is to use the names of the CPP and NPA as scapegoats in order to be able to declare martial law or state of emergency as he would need it before pushing cha-cha (charter change),” claimed Sison.
He also alleged that the invitation for him to return home “was not done in good faith” and “was meant to put me in a trap.”
Communists nonetheless remain open to peace negotiations but its resumption is Duterte’s responsibility, said Sison.
“If the other party says he doesn’t want to talk, then the responsibility is [with] the one refusing. It is Duterte’s responsibility that he has terminated or killed the peace negotiations and he wants to kill the peace process,” he reasoned.
FORMER STUDENT’S HEALTH
Sison and Duterte over the weekend engaged in a war of words after the communist leader shared unverified reports that the President fell into a coma.
Duterte appeared on a Facebook live video on Monday to debunk allegations that he is sick. The clip shows him dining with a woman supposedly at a hotel in Davao City.
Sison said he is pleased Duterte is well, adding that he wants the President to live beyond 2022 when his term ends so that he can face the International Criminal Court for the alleged crimes against humanity under his anti-narcotics drive.
Numerous peace talks between the government and the communists have been launched since 1986 but never made much headway.
The communist insurgency has stunted economic development in several resource-rich provinces, just as Moro separatist rebellions have plagued large parts of the south of the Catholic-majority country.