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Duterte repeats rants vs Reds, says peace talks “hypocrisy”

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, Sept. 12, repeated his rant against communist rebels, with whom he had good relations when he was still Davao City mayor, saying talking peace with the rebels would be “pure hypocrisy.”

At the inauguration of the Bataan Government Center and Business Hub, Duterte repeated his accusation against New People’s Army, the armed wing of Communist Party of the Philippines, of torturing four policemen during a clash in Negros Oriental last July. The rebels repeatedly denied the torture claim, saying the policemen died in a gunfight.

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At his speech, Duterte again narrated his story about how the NPA held the policemen hostage and used “Gillette”, a razor commonly used to shave, to torture the policemen.

“That’s why I said, this is hopeless. I am sad and I am angry,” said Duterte. “I do not think we can have talks again with Sison,” he said, referring to Jose Maria Sison, the founder of CPP and acknowledged patriarch of the rebel movement.

“Because they don’t obey the law,” Duterte said of the rebels, who had gone underground precisely to fight a government that they refused to recognize.

“They always invoke Geneva Convention,” Duterte said, referring to an international law that governs war actions and lists down punishments for torture and other war crimes.

Duterte had already announced earlier this year that he was closing the door to peace talks with the rebels, saying the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, the umbrella organization of underground leftist groups, should just “talk to the next President.”

Duterte, however, gave an all-out war order against rebels to the military, instructing his generals to finish off the insurgency during his term and giving orders to also target noncombatant communist sympathizers.

He offered money, housing and education for rebels who would lay down their arms. He also challenged the rebels to emulate China, once thought to be supporting the Maoist struggle, which Duterte said is now a capitalist nation and has turned its back on socialism.

READ: Duterte shuts door on peace talks: Talk to the next President

The government also sought the declaration of the communist movement as a terrorist group although the CPP had long been on the United States’ list of terror groups.

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A Manila court had issued an arrest order for Sison and other rebel leaders for their alleged involvement in a supposed purge of government spies in the 1980s.

Sison dismissed the arrest order, saying he is protected in the Netherlands, where he is on self-exile, as a political refugee.

READ: Panelo prods Joma to go home: ‘Unchain’ self from exile, ‘face the music’

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