Security concerns, Duterte’s disinterest in peace talks stop NDFP panel’s trips to PH
LUCENA CITY – The lack of interest of President Duterte to reopen the peace negotiation and the threat of being arrested have forced the overseas-based communist leaders to abandon their trips back home.
Fidel Agcaoili, chairman of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) negotiating panel, explained the reasons behind the cancelation of their travel back home supposedly scheduled on Nov. 19.
He recalled that on Nov. 16, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año issued a statement that they would be arrested upon their arrival in Manila unless President Duterte said otherwise.
Agcaoili also noted that at around the same time, “President Duterte said in Papua New Guinea that he was not yet prepared to resume talks with the revolutionary movement.”
“As a consequence, we decided the following day to forego with the trip of Mr. (Luis) Jalandoni and Ms (Coni) Ledesma, whose names are in the so-called proscription case against the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines) and NPA (New People’s Army),” Agcaoili said in a statement issued from Utrecht, The Netherlands Tuesday.
Jalandoni is a senior adviser to the NDFP panel while Ledesma, his spouse, is a member of the panel.
Exiled CPP founder Jose Maria Sison shared Agcaoili’s explanation.
“They (returning NDFP leaders) have been threatened with arrest by military and police authorities of the Duterte regime and Duterte himself has given no assurance of safety and has publicly expressed lack of interest in any effort to resume the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations,” Sison, also based in Utrecht, said in a separate statement issued on Monday night.
He also disclosed that NDFP lawyers have warned of court summons being served to the returning rebel leaders as a result of Proclamation 374 designating the CPP and NPA as terrorists.
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