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Duterte calls Joma an arrogant man

PRESIDENT Duterte gestures before the start of a command conference at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command headquarters in Camp Lapu-Lapu, Cebu City Friday. (Juan Carlo de Vela)

PRESIDENT Duterte gestures before the start of a command conference at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command headquarters in Camp Lapu-Lapu, Cebu City Friday. (Juan Carlo de Vela)

President Duterte on Friday lambasted exiled Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison, whom he accused of being “arrogant.”

“Itong si (Joma) Sison…akala mo naman sinong mag-salita. Ni hindi nga sila makahawak ni isang barangay anywhere,” Duterte said in a speech during his visit to Camp Gen. Macarip B. Peralta Jr., home of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division in Jamindan, Capiz.

He also downplayed the Maoist rebels’ projected strength, saying that when they talk, it’s as if “they are a force to reckon with when as a matter of fact… they could not even occupy a barangay (village) single day.”

He went on to taunt the communists, saying that New People’s Army-backed candidates could not even win an election in Davao if not for his help.

“Hindi sila manalo ng elections sa Davao. Kung hindi sila magsakay sa aking partido, walang manalo doon. It’s only in Davao na may Left na maraming official dahil nga sa akin,” the President said.

“Nayayabangan kasi ako…as if they are really the ones in power,” he added, adding that it is only because “they are the ones in the position in the mountains” that they have the advantage to stage an ambush against government troops.

In his speech, Duterte reiterated his all-out support to the soldiers and promised to provide them adequate equipment for the military’s anti-insurgency campaign.

“We will acquire many things,” the President said, adding that the government may earmark part of the $32 million from the United States to purchase equipment to be used by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the fight against enemies of the state.

He was referring to the $32 million which US Secretary of State committed to give to the Philippines to support the Duterte administration’s intensified law enforcement efforts. Kerry made the pledge during his visit to the country in July.

According Duterte, he will not send the soldiers to fight the enemies of the state knowing that they are not fully prepared.

“I will not order you to fight na disadvantaged. When I feel that the area and even the terrain will make it hard for us to win the battle, not the war because we’ll always win the war, gobyerno tayo eh. But if I feel that it would result in considerable loss, I will just buy my time,” he said.

“Only when we are ready, when we shall have acquired the equipment and I will buy it for you, only when I think that we are on the advantage theoretically…nandoon na tayo sa high ground with the weapons, with the assets, papasok tayo,” added Duterte. (Elena L. Aben)

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