SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go aired his sentiment regarding the proposed peace talks spearheaded by the Office of the Vice President.
The senator questioned the authority of the said office, citing that the President is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“Ang tanong dyan, ano ba ang authority ng OVP when it comes to peace talks? Tandaan natin ang Presidente po ang commander-in-chief ng buong AFP. Kung makipag-usap po sila doon at di naman po sumunod, what’s the use of it?,” Go said.
Go added that if whatever actions result from those so-called peace talks, its legitimacy will be questioned as the authority of command over the AFP rests in the President.
“Kaya nga po ang tanong ko, kung ano ang mapagkasunduan nila, sino ang susunod? Susunod ba ang AFP? Kasama ba ito sa chain of command?,” Go asked.
He added that lives should not be sacrificed in the armed struggle being conducted by the New People’s Army.
“Ako naman mismo, personally, ayoko nagpapatayan ang mga Pilipino sa kapwa Pilipino. Kung may namamatay na sundalo, nauulila ang pamilya. Pag may namatay sa kabilang panig, nauulila rin ang kanilang pamilya,” Go explained.
“Sino po ang kawawa? Pilipino pa rin. Walang katapusan ito pag idadaan n’yo sa armed struggle,” he emphasized.
Meanwhile Go cleared the Philippine National Police (PNP) of allegations regarding so-called politically motivated arrest of activists.
This is after the PNP arrested journalist and Manila Today editor Lady Ann Salem on Thursday, December 10.
Go explained that these arrests are made based on valid grounds, and that the PNP is simply doing its job to maintain peace and order and enforce the laws in the country.
“Hindi naman po sila aarestuhin kung wala pong (dahilan). Ibig sabihin kung may warrant of arrest, dumaan na sa korte. Sila ang nag-iisyu ng warrant at nagpapatupad lang ang PNP,” Go said.
Aside from Salem, six trade union members were also arrested on Thursday, according to rights group Karapatan.
According to the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Salem was arrested over illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
Salem’s publication, Manila Today, was also tagged by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) as part of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
The senator repeated that everyone has the right to exercise one’s freedom of speech and criticize the government. Yet, to start a movement that aims to destroy the government is not right and is against the law.
“May karapatan kayong magsalita, may karapatan kayo to criticize the government pero wala kayong karapatan to destroy the government. Pinili ng taumbayan ‘yan, this is democracy,” Go said.
He further added that President Rodrigo Duterte has a fixed term and that the elections are nearing. He suggested that they should just participate in the electoral process if they want to govern the country.
“Pinili ‘yan for a period of six years, fixed po ang term na ‘yan. Respetuhin n’yo ang pinili. May eleksyon, tumakbo kayo sa eleksyon kung gusto niyo kayo ang mamuno sa bansa,” he added.