The Armed Forces of the Philippines on Sunday maintained that the creation of a “Duterte death squad” remains an idea but may be needed to counter the communist rebels’ hit units.
In an interview aired over radio station dzRH, AFP spokesperson Brig. General Edgard Arevalo said that while the Special Partisan Unit (SPARU or more commonly termed as Sparrow Unit) is no longer called by that name, the New People’s Army (NPA) still has a squad that carries out liquidations.
In NPA hit list
Arevalo cited Friday’s killing of Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Jesus Zaavedra, assigned at the Legazpi Naval Station Julhasan A. Arasain, was on his way home to Barangay Caratagan in Pio Duran town in Albay when he was gunned down by a suspected member of the NPA.
Military intelligence reports said that the victim, who was retiring next year, was in the NPA’s hit list being previously active in civil-military operations in Albay.
Apart from Zaavedra’s killing, Arevalo claimed that the NPA was responsible for several other hits on AFP personnel in other areas.
Rules of engagement
He clarified that the creation of a Duterte death squad “remains to be an idea of the President. We have not received clear instruction about that.”
“But what we see is there is indeed a need for us to counter this liquidation squad of the NPA,” Arevalo said.
He said, however, that in doing so, the rules of engagement and existing laws would be observed.
The AFP spokesperson said that in proposing the creation of a Duterte death squad, the President shows how much he cares about the soldiers.
“What we have observed is that the victims of NPA liquidations are soldiers who are not part of the conduct of military operations. Those are going home to the provinces for some R and R (rest and relaxation) or on vacation,” Arevalo said.
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