DAVAO CITY ─ President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday, September 16, met with Senior Police Officer 2 (SPO2) George Cañete Rupinta, a former political prisoner of the New People’s Army (NPA), at the Matina Enclaves here.
Rupinta, who is suffering from coronary artery disease (heart ailment), arthritis, and high blood pressure, was abducted on June 9, 2017 at around 4:30 pm at Lupon, Davao Oriental while on his way to meet a barangay kagawad of Tagugpo to verify the alleged illegal logging activity.
He was released last September 15, following coordination among the local government unit of Lupon, Davao Oriental and Exodus for Justice and Peace Movement.
The Commander-in-Chief thanked the CPP-NPA-NDF for the humanitarian gesture of releasing a uniformed personnel taken hostage.
“Wala namang kasalanan ‘to, except to do the duty, law and order,” said President Duterte said.
“I would have to say, because I should share that I see it that all prisoners of war have been treated well in accordance with the Conventions of Geneva,” he added, noting that Rupinta was freed “through the intercession of well-meaning citizens” and the Exodus for Justice in Peace.
“They are always there all the time whenever there is a release of POW, he said.
However, Duterte said he still cannot accede to the Reds’ demand of releasing all prisoners of war and reminded the CPP-NPA-NDF not to hurry with the peace talks and to give way for those which are not acceptable to the other branches of government.
“There are things which I cannot concede alone because I am not the only one in control of this government. I share power with Congress and the Supreme Court,” he said.
President Duterte, meanwhile, reiterated that his administration would not end the campaign against illegal drugs, saying, “There will be no let-up in the fight against organized crime.”
“Hindi pwede ‘yan. Sa panahon ko, may pinangako ako. Either I rise or fall dito sa issue sa mga sinabi ko — corruption, droga, criminality pati ating ekonomiya,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Duterte suggested that part of the Commission on Human Rights’ original P623-million budget for 2018 should be used to procure body cameras for police officers working on anti-drug operations.
“Kung ayaw ninyong isauli ‘yung pera diyan sa CHR, why don’t you invest the money para to buy equipment for the police na lahat ng police sa Pilipinas — it’s about 600 million, and it can buy it all — na lagyan sila lahat, 24 hours a day ng camera… ‘Yung mga state-of-the-art, kasing-laki lang ng butones eh,” President Duterte said.
Duterte said that the lawmakers are “free to embed and place cameras on the body of law enforcers whenever they go out to operate,” provided that the privacy of soldiers and policemen will not be violated. ###PND