Palace belies report Duterte on Reds' hit list, says Esperon fed with wrong info

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 23 2019 03:49 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte. File

MANILA- Malacañang dismissed on Monday reports of President Rodrigo Duterte's inclusion on a hit list supposedly made by communist rebels, even after the government's national security adviser backed the report.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon was "fed with wrong information" over the hit list, asserting that Communist leader Jose Maria Sison already denied it.

"That report is false news. That has been denied by Jose Maria Sison himself, so how can we react if that is false news?" Panelo said.

Esperon last week claimed that he and President Duterte are included in an alleged hit list by communist groups.

Aside from Esperon, the Presidential Security Group also said last week that it received information on threats on President Duterte's life as the December 26 anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) drew closer.

Sison, however, denied the existence of the hit list as he alleged that Esperon only "aims to sow intrigue in order to sabotage the planned resumption of formal peace talks."

"While the NPA (New Peoples' Army) keeps no 'hit list' supposedly with Esperon’s name in it, the people will not fail to remember his many crimes and may seek justice with their revolutionary army," Sison said.

But even if the Palace believes that Duterte is excluded from the supposed hit list of the rebels, Panelo admitted that it is likely that the CPP wants to "eliminate" government officials.

"The communist rebels will always want this government to fall...It is not far-fetched that they would want to eliminate officials that are running this government but we are prepared for that," Panelo said.