MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he and the country's communists just used each other.
Duterte said he appointed leftist personalities to his Cabinet hoping to further improve his ties with them.
“I accommodated them even in the Cabinet hoping that it would improve the quality of our communications. Na masabihan ko, ‘Adre, pwede ba itong ipasa mo?’” Duterte said in a chance interview with reporters.
“That’s why their purpose was there, gamitan lang ‘to. And I was using them. Totoo. O bayaran ko kayo ng sweldo, ganito kalaki. You are with government. You have some powers.”
When he assumed office, Duterte appointed three leftists to the Cabinet, Rafael Mariano to the agrarian reform department, Judy Taguiwalo to the social welfare department, and Liza Maza to the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC).
Mariano and Taguiwalo’s appointments have since been rejected by the Commission on Appointments, making Maza and labor undersecretary Joel Maglunsod as the only leftist personalities remaining in the Duterte administration.
Duterte in November cancelled the peace talks with the communists, citing the New People’s Army’s (NPA) continued attacks on state forces. He also declared the NPA and the Communist Party of the Philippines as terror organizations.
Duterte said the communists have done nothing except to “recruit people to die and to kill, and to get the things of the people without their consent.”
“How can you continue branding them as revolutionaries? You must be crazy,” Duterte said.