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Duterte to Reds: Don’t force me to free all political prisoners, military won’t like it

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday called on the Communist Party of the Philippines not to force him to release all political prisoners because the military may not approve of such decision. 

In a speech delivered at the 38th National Convention of Philippine Association of Water Districts in Davao City, Duterte said that the communists want around 400 rebel detainees released amid peace talks. 

"Now they want 400 released. My god, that is already releasing all. Para na akong nag-amnesty, which is usually given after a successful negotiation," he said. 

Duterte said that the military would oust or kill him, the communists would have no peace talks. 

"Kaya ang sabi ko, huwag n'yo akong ipitin because the military might not like it. And then the military would oust me, would kill me, you have nobody talking to you," he said. 

"'Pag ang military magalit, hindi naman na hindi sila sang-ayon sa akin, but they would always support you if they think you are right. Eh 400 is 400. It is already the talks are over and there is a successful formula. So what is there to show? You want individual declaration of ceasefire. I'm just asking for a document which says that we are now in a ceasefire mode, signed by the government of Oslo who's offering their good offices for us to negotiate," he added. 

Duterte reminded the communists that he also need to consult with other branches of government every time he makes decisions. 

"Now, if you ask too much, this is a country that is not authoritarian. I head the Executive Department but I consult people and the military especially in the matters. Of course, nobody stood up right on my face to say it is not good. But during our talks, on our coffee time relaxed moments, they would make suggestions. And you can get vibration of what they want," he said. 

"So timpla-timpla ako dito. At the same time, you have the politburo that you vote on whatever you want for things to evolve in these talks. Mahirap kasi iyan," he added. 

Also in his speech, Duterte said he has yet to decide if he will follow the CPP's move to withdraw its unilateral ceasefire. 

"So, nag-withdraw kayo sa ceasefire. So, am I supposed to do the same? Gaya-gaya, puto maya. Just go ahead. I will decide in the fullness of God's time. Mahirap iyang akala ninyo ako lang kasi nanalo ako, tapos ako na. Hindi ako diktador ah," he said. 

Earlier, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza said they have recommended to the President that the government continue to implement its unilateral ceasefire declaration. — RSJ, GMA News