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Duterte denies talks with Maute

BY: Genalyn D. Kabiling

President Duterte has strongly rejected reports that he initiated negotiations with the Islamic militants wrecking havoc in Marawi City supposedly to end their siege.

The President asserted that he would rather finish off the enemies of the state than negotiate with terrorists that overran parts of Marawi last month.

“No I did not. He’s a pretender, I’d never talk terrorists,” the President said, referring to a Muslim leader who said that Duterte was prepared to forge a deal with the Maute Group but aborted the plan.

“I will never talk to criminals and to terrorists but I would talk to revolutionaries, who are imbued with principles like the MI (Moro Islamic Liberation Front), MN (Moro National Liberation Front),” he said.

The President, however, admitted that the Muslim rebel groups could have probably started “initiatives” to help settle the conflict in Marawi. “But kung galing sa akin, ako mag-hingi sa mga kriminal at terorista, imposible,” he said.

Duterte ruled out negotiations with terrorists as he was grieving over government casualties in the Marawi fighting.

“Marami na akong patay na sundalo pati pulis. Huwag na nila akong biruin ng mag-istorya-istorya lang tayo,” Duterte said.

“If there has to be peace, it would really be peace. Huwag akong laruin – iyang away ngayon tapos bukas…Let us finish this once and for all,” he added.