NPA backs Duterte fight vs drugs

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 04 2016 03:17 PM

File/Keith Bacongco, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has pledged support for the campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte to kill and arrest top drug traffickers.

The CPP said it has reiterated its order for its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA), to battle chieftains of the narcotics industry.

"The CPP reiterates its standing order for the NPA 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," reads a CPP statement released Saturday.

The communists also claimed that high-ranking Army and police officials are behind the widespread narcotics trade in the country.

"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 said.

The CPP also said soldiers often take a hit of shabu before conducting police operations. "Such practice is tolerated if not openly encouraged by field officers believing that drug use give soldiers a false sense of courage in carrying out their mercenary war."

The group also noted that the most recent drug-related "arrest" made by the NPA is that of a Davao Oriental police official.

READ: Duterte to leave fate of Davao Oriental cop to NPA rebels

Duterte last Friday sought the cooperation of revolutionary forces in the campaign against drug trafficking.

"Drugs have reached the hinterlands… what if you (CPP-NPA) use your kangaroo courts to kill them to speed up the solution to our problem," he said during the Change of Command rites of the Army.

But presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella clarified Monday that the NPA's participation in the war against drugs shoud be within the bounds of due process.

"Linawin lang po natin, iyung pagkakasabi ng ganoon -- ang move po ni President Duterte is to enlist the support of NPA to arrest or kill suspected drug lords. Kumbaga, kinikilala niya na mayroon din silang karapatan in order to be able to combat the whole war on drugs.

"Kung ano man ang mangyari, it will still go to process, hindi po ito basta free for all," he said.

Abella also emphasized that the President "is very well aware that everything should be done within the parameters of legality."

The Duterte administration is seeking a peace deal with the CPP, in a bid to end the five decades-long Maoist insurgency.