Once a terrorist always a terrorist.
Former president Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday had this to say against the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing the New People's Army at the sidelines of the 40th-anniversary celebration of PDP Laban.
"There is no need for anybody to declare them terrorists because they're terrorists and they're enemies from back then," Duterte said, clearly reacting to a Manila court's decision to dismiss the government's proscription case against the CPP-NPA.
"You do not need a license or a new mandate to fight them (CPP-NPA). It's a continuing struggle for about 53 years of the Communist Party of the Philippines," Duterte maintained.
In a resolution that was adopted during the party's national assembly, PDP Laban called on President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., to sustain the efforts of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
Duterte, meanwhile, said the party should continue its programs despite not being in power under the Marcos administration.
He stressed PDP Laban is supporting the presidency of Mr. Marcos as he refused to rate the new government during its so-called honeymoon period.
"I will not comment now. We are supporting the President all the way so that he will succeed. If he succeeds, it will be for the benefit of our country. So far his 100 days are not yet over," he said.
"So it's supposed to be a honeymoon (Marcos' first 100 days in office). We call it honeymoon with the press so at least give it to him," Duterte said.
When asked for comments on the increasing criminality and kidnapping in the country, Duterte suggested seeking the help of the military.
"If it's not enough, call the military to augment the police. That's just a suggestion. That's a practice that I adopted during my term. For me, police needs to work harder. The increase in crimes is something that's too early to pass judgment on. I'm sure the President is doing everything he can," Duterte said.
He said PDP Laban must stay relevant in going after pseudo-democracy groups "pretending to be fighting for democracy but in reality, their end game is to destroy government and install another one."
"That is the aim of the Communist Party of the Philippines," he stressed.
PDP Laban elected Palawan Representative Jose Chaves Alvarez as new party president, replacing former energy secretary Alfonso Cusi, in its national assembly at the Golden Bay Restaurant in Pasay City.
Cusi nominated Alvarez and the latter won without anyone contending for the position.
"I promise I will do my best to consolidate, move forward, and answer the needs of our party mates to equip our members for future political exercises. I will also do my best to keep our party relevant," Alvarez said in his speech.
The new set of PDP Laban officials includes Duterte, chairperson; Cusi, Vice Chairman; Senator Robinhood Padilla, Executive Vice President; Parañaque Rep. Edwin Olivarez, Vice President for National Capital Region; Senator Francis Tolentino; Vice President for Luzon; Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, Vice President for the Visayas; Senator Ronald "Bato" de la Rosa, Vice President for Mindanao; Lawyer Melvin Matibag, Secretary General; Deputy Speaker Aurelio "Dong" Dueñas Gonzales Jr., Treasurer; Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go, Auditor; Astra Pimentel, Membership Committee Chairperson; Lawyer Richard Nethercott, Legal Affairs, and Arbitration; Jonathan Malaya, Public Information chairperson; Masbate Governor Antonio Kho, Finance; San Juan Rep. Ysabel Zamora for Youth affairs; Rianne Cuevas for livelihood and Lawyer Yvette Catalan Contact for education.
During his speech, Duterte clarified the PDP Laban is not establishing a party against President Marcos' party.
"I would like to state very, very clearly. We are not putting up a strong party against the party of the President. We are not going to quarrel with him. Far from it, we will be giving our full support for him," he said.
Duterte hoped Marcos will govern the country in accordance with the "mandate of the people's interest."
Despite having many partylists in the country, Duterte believes that PDP Laban remains dominant.
Months before the May 2022 elections, PDP Laban was divided into two factions, with the other wing being led by Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III.
However, the Commission on Elections issued a ruling that the officers and members of the Cusi-led faction are the "true and official" members of the PDP Laban.
Cusi previously said the Comelec may have taken into consideration the "unwavering support" of the PDP Laban's more than 100,000 members nationwide and the loyalty of around 5,384 incumbent officials and candidates."