Padilla quits as gov’t head negotiator in peace talks with communist rebels | Inquirer News

Padilla quits as gov’t head negotiator in peace talks with communist rebels

Secretary Teresita Deles INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Alex Padilla, newly appointed president  of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth), has quit as head of the government panel negotiating  peace  with communist rebels.

“I’ve already given notice to Secretary (Teresita) Deles,” Padilla said on Tuesday, when asked to confirm reports he had already tendered his resignation as head of the government peace panel in the aftermath of the collapse of the talks.


Padilla made the disclosure at the sidelines of ceremonies marking the anniversary of the Department of Health.  He did not elaborate.


The Palace has not officially announced Padilla’s exit from the negotiating panel. But Deles, head of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), responded in a text message to the Philippine Daily Inquirer: “We have agreed that he would stay on (in the peace panel) to ensure a smooth transition. The rest of the panel remain in place and the work continues to proceed.”

President Benigno Aquino III appointed Padilla president and chief executive officer of PhilHealth on June 13. The appointment was made public on June 18.

Previous to his appointment as PhilHealth chief, Padilla had served as chief operating officer and vice president of the health insurance agency, while at the same time, serving as chair of the government panel assigned to negotiate with the communist rebels.

Peace negotiations between the Padilla-led  panel and the NDF apparently hit the rocks. Malacañang announced early in May  would no longer continue negotiations that seemed to be “going nowhere.”

Talks to restart negotiations stalled since 2004 were facilitated by Norway. Apparently, the panel tried but failed to convince the NDF to give up preconditions for talks to resume.

At a briefing on Tuesday, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte skipped questions related to Padilla’s new posting.


“We don’t know if they have (some) sort of arrangement…with Secretary (Teresita) Deles,” said Valte.

Talks have collapsed amid mutual recriminations, with both sides accusing each other of “insincerity.”

“We’ve always said this—that the government has been open to continue to talk to them. It is an issue of sincerity. Before, there have been many events, incidents where the so-called members of the New People’s Army were involved. We have (a recent incident where) five of our soldiers have been kidnapped in Davao City. There are several incidents that would indicate a sincerity problem when it comes to the talks, at least on that side.”

Earlier, The Netherlands-based communist leader Jose Maria Sison maintained that it was the government which announced the termination of the peace negotiations last April.

He specifically blamed Deles, adding that talks could continue if government “sends us an emissary who is mutually respected by the GPH and NDFP.”

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The communist-led New People’s Army has been waging guerrilla war in the Philippines for over 40 years—one of the longest-running Maoist rebellions in the world.

TAGS: Alex Padilla, News, OPAPP, peace process, Peace Talks

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