- Posted January 8, 2013 by
Davao City, Philippines
Philippine mayor denies paying revolutionary tax to rebels
By Ben O. Tesiorna
Davao City Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte denied the video posted at Youtube accusing him of giving P125 million (about US$3 million) to the communist rebel group, New People's Army, annually.
In a press conference on Tuesday, the popular Philippine mayor said that though he is not a bit affected by the false accusation, his concern is with the Dabawenyos who might believe in such a lie thus his decision to make a public statement.
The 1:53 minute video posted by SALOT na Mga NPA got less than 200 views as of evening of January 8, 2013 with only one comment coming from TheRadulce who said that "halatang hindi taga Mindanao yung gumawa ng video na ito. Siguro isa sa mga supot na AFP o Akbayan na hindi makapasok sa Mindanao dahil isinusuka ng mamamayan."
In the said video, Duterte is criticized for attending the 44th anniversary of the CPP-NPA in a remote village in Compostela Valley last December 26, 2012.
The Dabawenyo official is credited for having cleansed Davao City of criminals but the video stated that the surrounding areas of Davao City has suffered the brunt of rebel activities like extortion, arson and other crimes.
All this, because of the support Duterte allegedly keeps on giving to the NPA.
In the press conference, Duterte admitted attending the rebel group's anniversary as he usually does in the past. He said the highest military official in the region however knows about it as he informed the military general before going to the mountains.
The city vice mayor also admitted giving money to the NPA during the said visit but explained that it was meant for the people in the area affected by the super typhoon Pablo that ravaged the province last month.
Duterte said the money also came from a Davao City-based businesswoman who wanted to help the residents in Compostela Valley. He said that since there were no police, military or civilian authorities in the area during his visit, he opted to course the money thru the NPA rebels who were then celebrating their anniversary.
"I was just horsing around when I told the rebels that the money is not yet my revolutionary tax payment to them. Binuang ra to nako, yaga-yaga bah. Ang tinuod kay gikan to sa usa ka negosyante na gusto lang mutabang sa katawhan didto. Kay wala man ang barangay kapitan didto, sa NPA na lang nako gihatag pero ako gyud sila giingnan na para to sa katawhan. Aron lang naay kwarta na magtuyok sa komunidad," said Duterte.
Duterte admitted his close ties with some rebel leaders in the region. He assured the public though that his loyalty is to the Constitution and the people who elected him to office.
He said his ties with the NPA is the main reason why he continually refuse to accept any national post like the Defense secretary and the Local Government secretary offered to him in the past by not just one but four presidents.
"I am a compromised public official because I am close to some NPA leaders, I am close to MNLF leader Nur Misuari and many other rebel leaders. Unsaon nako paglihok (as Defense secretary or DILG secretary) kung amigo nako ni sila," Duterte said.
The vice mayor also explained that his visit to the NPA lair last month has something to do with the recent attempt to bomb the city that led to the death of a Malaysian national suspected to have ties with international terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah.
"I asked the NPA to help me determine who are behind the latest attempt to bomb Davao City because I know that they have a tactical alliance with other armed groups in Mindanao. I had already talked with the MILF who said they do not have any information. This month, MNLF leader Nur Misuari is coming over to talk to me about it," Duterte said. BOT