Duterte slammed over threat to cre­ate death squad

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

MANILA: Philip­pine leftists re­acted with dis­may yes­ter­day to a threat by Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte to cre­ate a “death squad” to hunt what he said were Maoist as­sas­sins, a plan crit­ics said could trig­ger a spree of killings sim­i­lar to his bloody war on drugs.

Maoists, leftists and some law­mak­ers said Duterte would worsen an ex­ist­ing cli­mate of fear and im­punity by threat­en­ing to un­leash his own hit men on those of the New Peo­ple’s Army (NPA), a com­mu­nist mili­tia that has waged a low-level in­sur­gency in the Philip­pines for decades.

Duterte said his as­sas­sins would take out the NPA’s “spar­rows”, who the com­mu­nists de­ployed to kill po­lice dur­ing the 1970s and 1980s rule of late strong­man Fer­di­nand Mar­cos.

It is not clear if the spar­rows still ex­ist. “That is their ad­van­tage. So I am go­ing to cre­ate my own spar­row, the ‘Duterte Death Squad’,” he said in a speech on Tues­day.

Jose Maria Si­son, the ex­iled founder of the Com­mu­nist Party of the Philip­pines, de­nied the ex­is­tence of “spar­row” as­sas­sins and said Duterte was us­ing it as a pre­text to kill sus­pected Maoist rebels.

Si­son likened it to Duterte’s anti-drugs cam­paign, dur­ing which thou­sands of peo­ple have been killed.

Ac­tivists say many ap­pear to have been ex­e­cu­tions, but po­lice deny that and say all were shootouts with drug deal­ers.

“He gives him­self the rea­son to form his own death squads,” Si­son told ANC.

“Any­one sus­pected could be killed be­cause po­lice have the li­cense to kill.”

Left­ist group Bayan said in a state­ment Duterte was “in­cit­ing a killing spree against gov­ern­ment crit­ics, hu­man rights de­fend­ers and just about ev­ery­one else tagged by the gov­ern­ment as ‘Red’”.

Sen­a­tor An­to­nio Tril­lanes said Duterte was in­se­cure about his hold on power.

“He wants to strike fear again into the hearts and minds of the Filipinos by fore­warn­ing that there would be an­other round of killings.” – Reuters

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