MALACAÑANG yesterday sounded the alarm on a published photo showing presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte with members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
“Freedom-loving citizens would find sufficient cause to be alarmed at the picture published in a major broadsheet (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 27 April), where erstwhile captive PNP (Philippine National Police) officers are shown wearing shirts with POW (Prisoner of War) printed thereon and being paraded by heavily armed NPA members in the company of Mayor Duterte, with the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines), NPA and the NDF (National Democratic Front) flags prominently displayed in the background,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a press statement when asked about the controversial photograph of Duterte with the rebels.
“This picture should lead us to think seriously and be concerned if this is the future for the Philippines which presidential candidate Duterte is offering to our people,” Coloma added.
The photo was published by Inquirer with a story on the NPA’s release of a soldier and five policemen in Mindanao.
Earlier, Duterte claimed that he talked with the NPA, the armed wing of the CPP and told them that there should be no conflict during election season because “the voting public will be affected.”
“Don’t harass the policemen because they are responsible for all the investigation, crime prevention and other law enforcement operations,” he supposedly said.
Duterte, the frontrunner in poll surveys, is known for having good and friendly ties with the Reds.