Duterte repeats claim leftist ex-Cabinet members funded NPA

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 6) — President Rodrigo Duterte repeated his claim that former left-leaning members of his Cabinet used government money to fund the New People’s Army (NPA).

“The money intended for their office, for their people, napupunta sa mga kampo ng NPA. Eh sabi ko, hindi ‘yan ang pinagusapan natin. You are not here to serve the NPA. You are here to serve the Filipino people. If we cannot agree on that, let us separate,” Duterte said Saturday evening when he met the Filipino community. in Moscow, Russia (Sunday midnight in Manila),

[Translation: The money intended for their office, for their people, go to NPA camps. I said, that wasn’t what we talked about. You are not here to serve the NPA. You are here to serve the Filipino people. If we cannot agree on that, let us separate.]

He did not, however, mention details on how these govenment officials supported the NPA with government money.

In his speech, Duterte mentioned only three “communists” who previously held posts in his government, but only named two: former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and former Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano.

Taguiwalo and Mariano were rejected by the Commission on Appointments.

Duterte, reacting to the panel’s rejection of Taguiwalo, then said that there were reports that she was funding the NPA using government money. Taguiwalo denied this.

Other left-leaning individuals who were in his government include National Anti-Poverty Commission Secretary Liza Maza, Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor chair Terry Ridon and Labor Undersecretary Joel Maglunsod.

Maza resigned after being slapped with murder charges which were eventually dropped. Meanwhile, Duterte sacked Ridon over alleged excessive travels. Duterte also fired Maglunsod, but later reappointed him as executive director at National Maritime Polytechnic.

The exits of left-leaning Cabinet members from the Duterte administration came as peace talks between the government and the communist rebels collapsed.

Duterte said in his speech that he is willing to talk again with the communists as long as they agree to lay down their weapons.