MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte's order to "destroy" communist rebels is a threat to all government critics, a left-leaning lawmaker said Tuesday.
Duterte's statement sets a "dangerous" precedent and sends a "chilling" effect to critics of the government, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said.
"Pag sinasabi ng Pangulo na you destroy the CPP-NPA eh lahat ng lumalaban sa gobyerno, lahat ng kritiko," he told radio DZMM.
(When the President says 'destroy the CPP-NPA,' that covers all critics of the government.)
"Magkakaroon talaga 'yan ng (that sends a) chilling effect," he added.
The President over the weekend ordered the military to "destroy" the Communist Party of the Philippines and assured troops that he would "assume full responsibility" should cases of human rights violation be filed against him.
"You have to destroy them. Destroy them. Wala namang maniwala na human rights (no human rights commission will believe). I assume full responsibility. Kita niyo, ako lang dinedemanda ng mga g*** (I'm the only one being sued)," he said.
Zarate said he believes there will come a time when all critics of the government would be tagged as enemies of the state.
"Darating ang panahon hindi na lang 'yung sinasabi nilang kaliwa, lahat ng kritiko na kritikal dun sa mga anti-people policies ng gobyerno ay posibleng magiging target nito na magiging enemies of the state," he said.
(Time will come when all critics who criticize anti-people polices of the government can become targets and tagged as enemies of the state.)
CPP founding Chairman Jose Maria Sison earlier criticized Duterte, alleging that the chief executive is the number one perpetrator of what he described as "state-sponsored terrorism."
"He (Duterte) has no respect for due process and he encourages his men to violate due process," Sison previously said.