MANILA - National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon on Tuesday said there is a hit list by communist groups, which includes himself and President Rodrigo Duterte.
“There had been information that the communist terrorist group CPP, NPA, NDF have a hit list and allegedly, included ako doon,” said Esperon, referring to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), New People's Army (NPA) and National Democratic Front (NDF).
“Sabi ko parang bilasang news na yata 'yan, matagal na yata ako nasa hit list. Nag-army commander ako, nag-brigade commander akong dalawang deses, nag-battalion commander ako sa Agusan. I even captured a (communist) central committee member when I was a major in central Luzon. So what do I expect?”
According to Esperon, he was not surprised that Duterte is on the list.
“Of course, automatic na 'yon that the President [is on the hitlist]," Esperon said.
Cabinet officials, who are retired military officers like himself, are also on the hit list, he added.
“I didn’t even read the details of it, nakita ko na lang na nandun 'yung pangalan ni [Interior] Secretary [Eduardo] Año, [National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Chairman] Secretary [Allen] Capuyan and other officers, which to us is something expected, or parts of the hazards of the job,” said Esperon.
Last Dec. 5, Duterte hinted at a chance to resume peace talks with communist rebels, during a situation briefing on typhoon Tisoy in Legazpi City. He said he was ordering Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to talk to Sison.