Joma Sison ‘reaffirms’ friendship with Duterte
After trading barbs with President Rodrigo Duterte over the New People’s Army (NPA), Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison on Wednesday said the two of them are still good friends.
The statement of Sison, who is also chief political consultant of the CPP’s political arm—National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), comes after the release of consultants involved in the peace talks and Duterte’s meeting with NDFP peace panel members.
“Once more I am grateful to President Duterte for his acts of goodwill to move forward the peace negotiations between his government and the NDFP,” Sison, who is based in the Netherlands, said in social media post.
“He (Duterte) has made possible the release of the JASIG (Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees)-protected NDFP consultants from prison and has graciously met the NDFP lawyers and consultants together with his negotiators and other officials,” he said.
Duterte once called Sison “arrogant” while Sison, who was the President’s former teacher, said Duterte acted like a “hoodlum (butangero)” after he demanded that the CPP declare a ceasefire.
During his first State of the Nation Address (Sona), Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire. However, the CPP failed to issue a reciprocal ceasefire in time for the President’s deadline.
“Despite a previous glitch in our communications, President Duterte and I remain good friends,” Sison said in his recent statement. “Our friendship has a strong basis in longstanding cooperation and in a common desire to serve the national and democratic rights and best interests of the Filipino people.”
He explained that the two of them “have plenty of mutual friends” who help “maintain” their friendship.
“We are both inspired by the principles and objectives of Kabataang Makabayan and driven by the patriotic desire to continue the unfinished revolution of Andres Bonifacio,” he said. “BAYAN and the producers of the film TIBAK (Kabataang Makabayan) have notified us of the plan to give us the Gawad Supremo soon in honor of Bonifacio.”
Sison said that he and Duterte will be “in touch with each other” during the formal peace talks in Oslo, Norway.
“We intend to perform our respective parts in order to make the talks successful and beneficial to our people,” he said. RAM
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