DAVAO CITY— Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte was furious at a retired general for telling him “what to do” with the Left.
Reporters who covered the release of the soldier earlier captured by the New People’s Army (NPA) found the mayor fuming mad against a certain military general who apparently meddled with his handling of the Communist group. Duterte did not identify the retired general but he said the general, known for his record of human rights violations, might run for an electoral post in the upcoming 2010 election.
“Do not teach me what to do because I am not a sergeant of the armed forces. I am the mayor of Davao,” Duterte said during a press conference after the turnover of former NPA ‘prisoner of war’ Corporal Dominador Alegre on November 15.
“I do not kill people for their principles. If we have to fight, then, let’s fight,” he said.
Duterte said he had been very active in talks with Communist guerillas even when he still served as city prosecutor before he entered politics. But he said he sees the urgency of the peace talks when he already sits as the mayor of Davao City.
He said he wanted peace talks to resume to address the root cause of insurgency.
“The peace talks have been derailed for very long and are already taking its toll,” he said, “We are tired, they are tired. This cannot go on forever. This is not good for the republic.”
But Duterte’s stance on the peace talks does not sit well with groups which opt for an all out war against NPA guerillas. The partylist group Anad in this Mindanao Daily Mirror report, criticized Duterte’s call for peace negotiations, saying this will only allow the Communist group to “use” the talks as “propaganda” against the government.
Duterte did not particularly name the retired general but he said he was furious because he was “telling me what to do.” He did not elaborate. He said that the government should find ways for the peace talks to resume. He also said that the government should be sincere in the talks instead of doing it only for “publicity.”
“Ask them (the NPA guerillas) what they want, that’s just how it is,” he said.
Duterte said that the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) released Alegre out of “goodwill.” He said he initiated talks with the group to release the corporal so that he can join his family for Christmas.
He said the government could save money for social services once it stops spending on bullets and counterinsurgency operations. (Grace S. Uddin/ davaotoday.com)