At least three senators were supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to declare the New People’s Army (NPA) a terrorist group, noting that the communist rebels had long been labeled “terrorists” by a local court and the United States anyway.
“Only a president with Duterte’s guts can declare the NPAs as terrorists and that’s what who they are for quite a long time,” Lacson, a former police chief, said in a text message to reporters on Monday.
“Their ideology has been gone more than a decade ago. They burn, destroy, kill innocent civilians to terrorize; they terrorize to sow fear and harass helpless civilians; they harass to extort under the guise of revolutionary taxation.”
“And knowing PRRD (Duterte’s initials), our security forces will surely respond to finally put an end to an almost half century problem that morphed from ideology to plain banditry perpetrated by self-styled ‘army of the people,’” Lacson added.
Senator Gringo Honasan, a former Army Col., also backed Mr. Duterte’s pronouncement.
“As Commander in Chief of all society forces and based on information from his National Security advisers, it is the President’s prerogative. Kung yung US ay dineklara ang CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front) na terrorist organization, tayo pa kaya?” Honasan asked in a separate text message.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III also noted that even a court in Mindanao had already tagged the NPA as a terrorist group.
“They have already been declared by an RTC court in Mindanao as such, therefore, the President’s declaration is not far from coming,” Sotto said in another text message.
The three senators all belong to the majority bloc in the Senate.
Duterte’s plan to declare NPA members as terrorists was prompted by the latter’s alleged continued killing of innocent people.