By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte said that he has fired Labor Undersecretary Joel Maglunsod, purportedly the last left-leaning official in his government.
The President made the announcement in a speech before rebel returnees at Camp Juan Ponce Sumuroy, Catarman, Samar Tuesday.
“Iyong Undersecretary ng Labor… Joel Maglunsod pinaalis ko (The Undersecretary of Labor, Joel Maglunsod, I fired him),” Duterte said.
Without elaborating, Duterte said that he just gave left-leaning people a chance to serve the country during the early days of his term.
However, he said, they still want to establish their own government in the long run.
“Pinagbigyan ko sila noong bago ako kasi gusto ko ma… (I just gave them the chance when I was still new because I wanted to)… Duterte said, not finishing his statement.
“‘Yung mga ideology niyo. Pero in the long run, gusto nila pati sila magdala ng gobyerno (You have your ideology. But in the lng run, you still want to have your own government),” he added.
“Makipag-away ka sa akin, makipag-barilan ka tapos ngayon sabihin mo kasama tayo sa gobyerno, itong mga powers na ‘to. Kalokohan ‘yan (You fight me and then you tell me you’re with me in government. That’s nonsense),” he continued.
Duterte then said that he may order the arrest of left-leaning groups which “paralyze” the country’s economy.
“Iyong mga labor-labor, ‘yang kasama ninyo and sa white area, ‘yung agitation ng ano, ‘yan paghuhulihin ko talaga ‘yan (Those labor groups, I will really arrest them all),” he said.
“Kasi kung mag-strike sila nang mag-strike, sabihin mo sa kanila strike sila nang strike, they will paralyze the economy. ‘Pag wala ng pera ang mga trabahante tapos magkagulo, mapipilitan ako (Because they keep on doing strikes, tell them that they paralyze the economy. If workers are left with no money which will lead to disorder, I will be forced to arrest you),” he added.
“Huhulihin ko lahat ‘yang Mayo Uno at si Joel Maglunsod (I will really arrest that Mayo Uno and Joel Maglunsod),” he continued.
Duterte has appointed left-leaning people to his Cabinet in an attempt to show goodwill and sincerity to advance the then-ongoing peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
Last year, the Commission on Appointments (CA) rejected the appointments of Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano.
Former Kabataan party list Rep. Terry Ridon was fired as chair of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor over alleged excessive travels while former Gabriela party list Rep. Liza Maza resigned as National Anti-Poverty Commission chairperson.
Earlier, Duterte expressed regret in appointing them to government posts, adding that the CPP-NPA-NDF wasted their opportunity to show the people that they are capable of leading.