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DAVAO CITY – Philippine rebels on Sunday have blamed the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and rightist groups opposed to President Rodrigo Duterte’s rule for the deadly bombing in Davao City that left dozens of civilian casualties.

Siegfried M. Red, a spokesman for the Communist Party of the Philippines, said the CIA instigated the September 2 bombing of a crowded night market along Roxas Avenue that killed at least 14 people and injured over 60 others.

Police and military investigators found fragments of mortar bomb in the area and bolstered suspicion that an improvised explosive device was used in the attack in Duterte’s hometown.

“The bombing was carried out and masterminded by no other than the world’s greatest terrorist – the US imperialist hegemony which is threatened by the Duterte government’s positive gestures toward the country’s anti-imperialist revolutionary forces and Duterte’s consistent pronouncements against U.S. intervention in Philippine affairs,” Red said in a statement sent to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

“The heinous attack in downtown Davao City, home to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, was clearly the handiwork of peace saboteurs, ultra-rightists AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) cliques, and big drug lords — all anti-Duterte forces that conspire with U.S. imperialism to subvert the Duterte government. The September 2 bombing is wrought by the bloody hands of the U.S. war machinery’s black operations,” he added.

Red said the attack had the signature of the CIA.

“It is hardly coincidental that initial investigations have found similarities on the explosion device used on Friday’s bombing to the explosives found in the wreck of CIA agent Michael Meiring’s hotel room in Davao City and the ones used in the Davao International Airport and the Sasa Wharf bombings in March and April 2003 respectively,” he said.

Red was referring to the American national who was wounded in an accidental explosion while assembling improvised bombs at Evergreen Hotel in May 2002. Meiring, who had links with Muslim rebel groups in Mindanao, was rescued by U.S. agents from the Davao Medical Mission Hospital and smuggled out of the country in a private plane.

He said: “Duterte himself, has been a witness to how the U.S. terrorist network and its puppet fascist reactionary wreaked havoc in Davao City more than a decade ago. Disgruntled junior officers of the AFP divulged that the US-Arroyo regime masterminded the (previous) bombings that killed 38 and wounded 180 people.”

The Abu Sayyaf has claimed responsibility for the bombing, but later on denied as behind the attack. It earlier threatened to attack military and civilian targets and said the Abu Sayyaf will bring the war on Duterte’s soldiers. 

Red also alleged that the CIA is backing the Abu Sayyaf to stir anti-Muslim sentiments in the Philippines. “A CIA-backed terrorist group was quick to admit its responsibility in the bombing, a scripted rejoinder to sow further enmity against majority of Muslims who want just peace. U.S. imperialism has always employed terror tactics to stir anti-Muslim sentiments and prelude its greater military intervention in countries that challenge its dominance and exploitation,” he said.

He said Washington and its rightist and militarist cliques in the Philippines are opposed with Duterte’s peace talks with the communist rebel group New People’s Army and its allies, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Moro National Liberation Front.

“Clearly, US imperialism and its rightist and militarist cliques in the country are not happy with how the Duterte government is shaping its pro-peace governance as shown in the great strides in the peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front, and as demonstrated by Duterte’s peace overtures with the MNLF and MILF,” Red said.

He said communist rebel forces are supportive of Duterte’s peace process and ready to fight U.S. intervention and peace saboteurs in the Philippines. “The CPP supports the resounding call of the Filipino people for a just and lasting peace. It is prepared to command the Red fighters and enjoin all revolutionary forces to defend civilians against attacks from US war hawks, peace saboteurs, rabid rightist cliques of the AFP and PNP, and other fascist enemies of the people,” Red said.

There was no immediate statement from the U.S. Embassy or the Philippine government on these allegations, but Filipino journalists also received text messages from their cell phones, saying the CIA was behind the bombing to sabotage Duterte’s peace efforts.

“Good evening everyone, I do not believe the Davao bombing was ASG (handi)work. May(roon) earlier warnings daw to the younger (Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte-Carpio and Vice Mayor Paolo) Dutertes. Pag ASG, I am sure di na mag-warning pa. I think there is now a rightist operation aided by the CIA to sabotage PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte). There might be more (bombings) in the near future,” the message said, which came from an unknown person.

Duterte has declared a state of lawless violence in the Philippines following the bombing. And Washington quickly condoled with the families of the victims and offered to assist the Philippines in the investigation into the attack.

“The United States offers deep condolences to the families and other loved ones of the victims of the explosion in the Philippines’ Davao City, and our thoughts and prayers are with the injured,” said U.S. National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price. “We understand that local authorities continue to investigate the cause of the explosion in the night market, and the United States stands ready to provide assistance to the investigation.” 

But Duterte rejected the U.S. offer to help in the investigation, saying, the local police can handle the probe. The President, who inspected the site of the bombing before sunrise, allayed fears by some sectors that his declaration of state of lawless violence would result to indiscriminate arrests and human rights violations.

“It’s not martial law, but I am inviting now the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the military and the police to run the country in accordance with my specifications. Simula ngayon, I am declaring now, lahat, state of lawless violence – it’s not martial law, no such thing until – there is a threat against the people and against the nation,” he told reporters covering the situation in Davao.

The mayor said they will not be terrorized by the attack and called on the locals to unite and remain vigilant. “We will not be terrorized by this heinous crime and I call on all Dabawenyos to unite and let us help each other rise from this senseless incident. Let us remain vigilant, please report any and all suspicious activity, no matter how insignificant it may seem,” Carpio said.

Governor Mujiv Hataman, of the Muslim autonomous region, has condemned the attack and branded the Abu Sayyaf as “the biggest traitor of Islam.”

“We are no strangers to such incidents, and we know the fear and sorrow that come with these tragedies. We are one with Davao City in this time of grief. In the fight for peace, we will not falter.”

“Acts of terror have no place in a country that tirelessly hopes for peace and stability. Time and again, this group has proven to be the biggest traitor of Islam, their activities are purely betrayal of the values and principles we hold dear as a peace-loving people,” Hataman said, adding, Islam does not condone the “spilling of blood” and that the murder of innocent people has no place in Islam. (Mindanao Examiner)

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