By Genalyn Kabiling
For a brief candid moment, President Duterte offered to turn over the reins of national government to a group of former rebels during a recent meeting in Malacañang.
The President however quickly insisted on taking back the government if “chaos” erupts under the leadership of the rebel returnees.
Duterte made the offer to a group of former rebels after criticizing Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison for letting poor insurgents fight his war while enjoying a millionaire’s life abroad.
“All he wants is to take over the government. Well, here you are now. I’ll give it to you now. Let’s sign the agreement now while we’re all here. I will give Malacañang to those who surrendered. Here, take it. Lead the government as well,” the President said in the Visayan dialect during a merienda hosted for 238 rebel returnees at the Palace last Wednesday.
“But if chaos erupts tomorrow, I’ll get back to you. This is what he wanted and you’re here now so I’ll give you the government now. We’ll sign the papers. Can you do it? Can you? Because I will really sign it. You won’t take it,” he added.
Duterte, now on his second year in office, admitted that leading the country was not an easy task. “I myself have a hard time trying to run this government even though I have a lot of people working for me. Do you think you can do it?” he asked the former rebels.
At the same event, the President slammed Sison for duping the rebels to fight a futile cause.
He said while rebels have become separated from their families, grown poor and have died for their cause, Sison has taken the profits and now has a comfortable life abroad.
“What have you gotten from Sison then? Sison is a millionaire who is living abroad. The son of a b*tch has been there for so many years,” he said. “The money that he is spending is the money that you worked hard for. What’s your capital? Your blood and the lives of your fellow human beings,” he added.
Duterte revealed that the local communist group has extorted as much as P50 million from mining companies while getting P15 million from plantations.
He said the government learned about the rebel collection after keeping track of the remittances and other records. “They don’t ask for money face to face but they made you collect change,” he added.
Duterte also warned of the downfall of the communist rebel movement if they insist on waging a war with the government. He admitted that the government could bomb the rebels without having to engage in close quarters combat.
“Who do you believe in now, Sison? Who is Sison? How is he related to God? Why do you believe in that son of a b*tch? He’s stupid,” he said.
“You are heading towards your death if you believe in Sison. Sison reads the works of Karl Marx and Mao Tse-tung. They don’t believe in anyone else. China — I’ll take you to China. Look at what was then a communist country, but became capitalist in the end,” he added.
The President meantime offered to provide assistance to the rebel returnees including livelihood and housing benefits.
“There are around 1,000 units, some are in Talomo and some are in Bangkal. It’s almost done. It’s supposed to be given to the military and police, but I’ll give them to you instead,” he said.
He encouraged the former rebels to join the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) to enjoy other benefits.
“Get yourselves enlisted now because I’ll give the 1,000 units to you. You will have a house that comes complete with everything. There is a school as well. College education is free. So I will just give you your allowance,” Duterte added.