Duterte won’t release political prisoners just yet
CLARK FIELD, Pampanga – The release of political prisoners will not happen just yet, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday.
“I am not ready to release everybody. Only after the success of the talks, if there’s one coming our way bago ko sila i-release, now we can grant amnesty but they have to lay down their arms,” he said in his speech at Air Force’s 69th anniversary held here.
Duterte earlier expressed willingness to release political prisoners as a confidence-building measure for the peace talks. The National Democratic Front is also demanding for the release of political prisoners.
Before he was sworn in, his team led by Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza already held informal talks with the NDFP last month. Another round of talks will be held this month.
The President said the talks are “doing well” and cited a possible “firm agreement by the end of the year if Communist Party of the Philippines leader Jose Maria Sison would come home.”
“I am ready to give him a safe conduct pass. And ’yung Tiamzon spouses pati si Jalandoni,” he said.
The President is referring to Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, top communist leaders arrested in Cebu in 2014, and NDFP negotiator Luis Jalandoni.
Duterte also said he is communicating with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Moro National Liberation Front leader Nur Misuari.
“Maybe we’ll go to Jolo and talk to him before we formally agree to talk officially. I have my team already. I would not mention them now but they are ready sa government side,” he said.
As to the Abu Sayyaf, the President reiterated his earlier statement that there is a “time for reckoning.”
“Hintay lang kayo,” he said.
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