'Shut up,' Duterte tells soldiers wary of pact with Reds


MANILA - A good soldier is someone who shuts up and follows orders given for the good of his country, according to presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte.

Duterte said this on Thursday amid the reported misgivings of some soldiers on a peace pact the Davao City mayor intends to ink with communists, and his plans to free all political prisoners.

Col. Casiano Monilla, deputy division commander of the military's 10th Infantry Division, told Inquirer that the cessation of hostilities would ensure the safe return of soldiers to their families. However, he also said that Duterte's plan to release political prisoners is an "emotional issue for government forces."

"This is as a very emotional issue for the armed forces especially that the cost of bringing them to justice is not just about money, but also countless lives of our soldiers," Monilla said.

But an irked Duterte quipped: "Sila lang ba ang namatayan? It is war."

Duterte underscored that armed struggle has torn apart the country for four decades now, and that not a single rebellion "ended with the sentiments of the fighting forces."

Incoming president Rodrigo Duterte walks with communist New People's Army rebels during the release of five policemen held by the rebels for a week, in Davao City, on April 25, 2016. Keith Bacongco, Reuters

He also challenged Monilla to come up with any other measure to reach peace with the insurgents. "If he has a solution, sabihin mo sa kanya, spend time with me... I will designate him to file a solution nitong problemang ito."

Duterte also insisted that soldiers should not let hate influence them while carrying out their duty.

"Alam mo kasi ang warrior, you go to a fight, you do not carry hate kasi mamamatay ka talaga, kasi magwawala ka. It's very important for a warrior and a soldier na he goes around just doing his duty without the hate," he said.

Without mincing words, Duterte added that soldiers should just shut up and follow commands.

"You are military, supposed to shut up. Kapag sundalo ka, shut up. Lalo na kapag I'm the incoming commander-in-chief. I'm trying hard to find peace for my country tapos andiyan ka, napakababa," he thundered.

Aside from granting political asylum to communist insurgents, Duterte earlier offered to appoint communist leaders to his Cabinet.

National Democratic Front (NDF) peace negotiating panel chairperson Luis Jalandoni assured that guerrilla fighters will reciprocate any ceasefire that the incoming president may impose.

The NDF has reached an agreement with government on the framework for the peace talks between the two sides.

Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder and current NDF chief political consultant Joma Sison will also return from exile when Duterte assumes the presidency.