CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan De Oro City — A visibly irked President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has ordered the arrest of all consultants of the National Democratic Front (NDF) now in Oslo, Norway after visiting the wake of the slain army soldiers Sunday afternoon.
Duterte issued the order during a brief interview with the local media here as he emerged from a closed-door “executive session” with top military officials in Northern Mindanao.
He said that he has ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to arrest all NDF consultants who were earlier released once they return home to the country from Oslo, Norway.
About 22 known ranking leaders of the NDF in the country were released from prison to join the peace negotiation with the government panel and the NDF in Oslo, Norway mid-August last year.
Calling them “terrorist,” the visibly angry Duterte said that the NDF consultants are facing various criminal charges in various courts in the country.
He said he would order the Bureau of Immigration to cancel the passports of the released NDF consultants, if they would not come home.
“Well, if they want an asylum, they could apply an asylum to where they are now because we would definitely arrest and put them behind bars to answer charges against them once they arrived in the country,” Duterte said.
The President also instructed the Philippine delegation to the peace negotiations to go home after he ordered the government panel to pull out from the talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
He said that he had seriously considered ending the 50-year insurgency war which prompted him release the NDF prisoners to serve as consultant to the peace panel.
“Considering the criminal cases filed against the released NDF consultants, the courts lamented that we asked for consideration in the name of peace,” Duterte said.
While expressing anger and resentment, Duterte, however, offered an olive of peace to the communist rebels in the mountains who want to surrender.
“I asked them (NPA) to come down from the hills and surrender. I will provide them protection and find money and provide them land under the government’s agrarian reform program,” Duterte said.
The President visited this largest army camp in the Northern Mindanao Sunday afternoon to pay respects to the three army soldiers who were killed by NPA rebels in Bukidnon last Wednesday.
Arriving about 2:20 p.m. Sunday at the Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental, Duterte took the presidential chopper — escorted by two helicopter gunships — and flew to this camp where the three soldiers lay in state in the military chapel.
Duterte offered a silent prayer to each of the casket of Sgt. Owen B. Yee, Corporal Niño Christopher L. Talabor, and Cpl. Pat O. Non, all of the army’s 8th Infantry Battalion, who were killed in a rebel checkpoint in an outskirt village in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon last Wednesday.p>After the silent prayer, the President individually placed the military medals on top of each casket and executed a snappy salute.
Duterte then conferred to the surviving widows and family members of the slain soldiers extended cash assistance to each widow, promised scholarship to the children, employment in the local government, and vowed to give justice for the slain army troopers.
The President held an executive session with top military officials in Northern Mindanao before flying back to the Laguindingan Airport about 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Cris Diaz/PNA-northboundasia.com