MANILA – Malacañang on Tuesday refuted Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison’s statement blaming the government’s security cluster for the termination of peace talks.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte cancelled the peace negotiations due to the communists’ failure to show ‘sincerity and commitment”.
“Kaya napigilan iyon dahil hindi sila sumusunod sa usapan eh. Supposed to be walang barilan, walang patayan, walang ambush, eh nilabag nila iyon eh (The reason why it was cancelled was because they are not following the agreements. There should be no attack, no killing, no ambush. They violated these),” Panelo said in a Palace press briefing.
“If you are in the President’s shoes, why should you talk when they are not sincere in the objective?,” he added.
In an interview with Manila Times, Sison accused members of the government security council of opposing the signing of a peace talk document and for convincing Duterte to suspend the negotiations.
Duterte had lived up to his election campaign promise to talk with the enemies of the state, including the CCP and its political arm, the National Democratic Front (NDF) and armed unit the New People’s Army (NPA).
The communists, however, failed to show sincerity to pursue genuine peace as they engaged “on acts of violence and hostilities, endangering the lives and properties of innocent people”.
This prompted Duterte to sign Proclamation No. 360 ordering the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and government negotiators to stop all peace talks with the communist group in November last year.
Duterte also cited Sison’s demand for coalition government as another reason for the termination of the peace talks.
Last April, Duterte provided Sison a ‘small window’ of 60 days to talk peace in the Philippines.
Sison, however, turned down the offer for fear of his life despite assurance from the President that he will not be arrested while in the country.
“But definitely the President, always – his mind is always open to reconciliation as he said, ‘hindi pupuweding tayong mga Pilipino ang nagpapatayan’ (Filipinos should not kill each other),” Panelo said.
The rebellion in the country started 50 years ago, making it one of the longest-running communist insurgencies in the world. (Jelly Musico/PNA)