Duterte wants ‘one-on-one’ talk with Joma Sison
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is eyeing a “one-on-one” talk with Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chair Jose Maria “Joma” Sison amid the possible resumption of peace talks between the government and communist rebels.
In a Palace briefing Thursday, Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo said the President told him on Christmas Eve that he is seeking an audience with the communist leader as the two parties agreed to a holiday ceasefire.
Panelo said Duterte guaranteed Sison he will not be arrested should he come home from The Netherlands where he is currently in exile.
“The President is daring him to come home to the Philippines and have a one-on-one talk…no government panel and no panel on the communist side,” Panelo said.
“He’s asking him to come to the Philippines, there will be no enforcement of any warrant. Just come to the Philippines and talk to (him),” he added.
Duterte declared a holiday truce nationwide from midnight of December 23, 2019, until 11:59 p.m. of January 7, 2020.
However, CPP’s armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), reportedly staged two separate attacks in Camarines Sur and Iloilo just hours after the holiday truce took effect, resulting in the death of a soldier.
Malacañang condemned these attacks but asked the communist group to explain the alleged violation of the holiday cessation of hostilities.
“But nevertheless, we are giving them the chance to explain why they committed such violation and since the President has always been open, giving a little window in pursuit of peace, he will wait for the explanation coming from them,” Panelo said.
Duterte earlier this year officially shut down the possible resumption of peace negotiations with the communist rebels and paved the way for localized peace talks.
However, earlier this month the President ordered Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to reach out to the CPP leadership on what he called his “last card” in attaining peace under his administration
Edited by KGA
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