Duterte Comes to the Aid of Hospitalized NPA Reb
By Edith Regalado | Updated April 1, 2004 – 12:00am
DAVAO CITY. Saying that “everyone is entitled to medical treatment,” Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has facilitated the release from the Davao Medical Center of a wounded communist rebel by shouldering his bills amounting to P110,000.
But Duterte clarified that his gesture to help Marvin Luis, 36, should not be construed as paying a permit-to-campaign fee to the New People’s Army (NPA).
“I’m never paying any permit-to-campaign fee. I can help anyone, anytime but it is not for me to be paying their fees,” he said.
Besides, he said Luis should face charges which authorities may file against him.
Luis was confined at the Davao Medical Center for 30 days for injuries he sustained during an encounter with government troops in New Corella, Compostela Valley.
Luis was initially confined in a small hospital in Barangay Mintal here but Duterte helped his transfer to an air-conditioned room at the Davao Medical Center.
“Everyone is entitled to medical treatment, be they rebels, soldiers or any other citizens,” the mayor said.
Luis was turned over to the custody of Aglipayan Bishop Felixberto Calang following his release from the hospital the other day.
Duterte assisted Luis even as communist guerrillas prevented candidates of his political party, Hugpong sa Katawhan, from campaigning in the Paquibato district.
He agreed with the assessment of the National Security Council that the NPA, which marked its 35th anniversary last Monday, remains the biggest threat to the country’s democracy.
“What do you think are the NPA rebels doing? They continue with the attacks and they ask for revolutionary taxes and permit-to-campaign fees. What do you call these? Are they not using coercion and influencing the elections?” he said.
Meanwhile, eight rebels and a government militiaman were killed in a clash between patrolling soldiers and about 40 guerrillas in Monkayo, Compostela Valley last Tuesday.
The military also reported that rebels attacked an Army outpost outside San Miguel town in Surigao del Sur the previous day.
There were no reports of casualties in the attack, one of several launched by the NPA on its 35th anniversary.
In Carmen, Agusan del Norte, the Army’s 401st Infantry Brigade foiled a planned attack by about 150 rebels on a military detachment.
Col. Rogelio Rosete, commanding officer of the 401st IB, said documents seized after a clash with NPA guerrillas holding a plenum in Sitio Mambugao revealed the plan.
The renewed fighting came as government and rebel negotiators prepared for another round of peace talks in Oslo, Norway. With Roel Pareño, Ben Serrano