Joma Sison says he has not endorsed Duterte’s bid for presidency
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Communist Party of the Philippines founding chair Jose Maria Sison has clarified that he has not yet endorsed Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s bid for the presidency.
“I wish to clarify news reports that I have endorsed the presidential candidacy of Mayor Rudy Duterte,” Sison said in an emailed statement on Tuesday.
In a rally last August 28, organizers showed a video of Sison praising Duterte for his nationalist stand.
The mayor then joked at the retired military and police officials, including former AFP chief of staff Hermogenes Esperson and former PNP chief Roberto Lastimoso, who were present at the rally, that he might get shot because of this.
But Duterte vowed to use his influence in government and in the leftist movement to achieve peace without further escalation of violence.
He said the government and the communist rebels could instead focus on drug lords and on the defense of the Philippine territory, most particularly the disputed West Philippine Sea.
Sison explained that a Davao journalist took the video months ago when she visited him in Utrecht and asked him about his opinion of Duterte as a presidential candidate.
“I answered in the following manner: He is highly qualified. He has integrity and a strong character and is determined to do good for the country,” Sison said.
Sison explained that he could not have endorsed Duterte because the mayor has not yet officially declared his intent to run for president.
“It was not possible for me to endorse his presidential candidacy because he had not yet made up his mind to run for the presidency. Even until now, up to the writing of this note, he is reported not to have yet made up his mind to run for the presidency,” Sison said.
Duterte, who is known to have an open line with the communist movement, said that his principles have been always Left but he would not support violence as a means to effect change in society.
“From the start I told you I am Left, but it is the armed struggle which I will not support,” Duterte said.
Duterte has facilitated the safe release of soldiers and policemen captured by the New People’s Army in Mindanao, which gave hope to peace advocates that the mayor might help jumpstart that stalled talks with the National Democratic Front.
Pressured by the demands of different groups, Duterte asked for time to consult his family, most especially his children, about possible candidacy for the presidency in 2016. SMF
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