‘You’re in the same age bracket as me,’ Sison says after Panelo calls him ‘aging’ in latest war of words
LUCENA CITY—If saliva could power homes, probably thousands of houses would be energized in the saliva spit out by Malacañang and self-exiled communist leader Jose Maria “Joma” Sison in their lengthening war of words which now covers their ages.
Sison was quick to reply to presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, who is also a lawyer and chief presidential legal counsel, who replied to an earlier tirade by Sison against his former student now President Rodrigo Duterte.
Just like the egg or chicken question over which came first, it appeared that it was Sison who first fired his verbal AK-47 by calling Duterte a “traitor and puppet” of China, a country which Duterte said has already turned its back on socialism, embraced capitalism with fervor and serve as a role model for Philippine communist rebels.
And always on cue, Panelo, perhaps imagining delivering that famous movie line about a copycat, called Sison as nothing but an “aging, armchair, passe rebel.”
It wasn’t very clear which of Panelo’s words—aging, armchair, passe—hurt most the communist rebel leader but the 80-year-old Sison, just older by six years than Duterte, called Panelo “politically and intellectually bankrupt.”
“The ad hominem remarks against me are stupid, impertinent and devoid of reason,” Sison said in a statement sent from his base in Utrecht in the Netherlands on Monday (Sept 2), just shortly after Panelo made the remarks.
As if to tell Panelo to take a look at the mirror first before calling anyone aging, Sison said he, Duterte and Panelo “belong to the same senior age bracket and are not any much younger than I am”.
Sison said Panelo’s remark was an “attempt to distract attention” from him calling Duterte a traitor for “treasonous deals” with China, like a plan to jointly explore gas and oil in the West Philippine Sea.
Panelo said Malacañang is unfettered by Sison’s tirades.
He said the Duterte administration is “engrossed in its constitutional duty of serving and protecting the Filipino people.”
“It has no time to waste in responding to the latest anti-Duterte statement of Jose Maria Sison, other than saying that it is another errant raving and incorrigible ranting coming from an aging, armchair, passe rebel whose illusory vision has outsprinted the ticking hands of time,” said Panelo in a statement.
Sison, however, said his view was “supported by the broad masses of the people, the revolutionary movement and by the most responsible leaders, organizations and institutions motivated by patriotism.” Delfin T. Mallari/TSB
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