Joma Sison: Duterte can be ‘volatile’ but…
Is it all over even before it started?
Perhaps not, according to Jose Maria “Joma” Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), who lashed out against the lifting of the unilateral ceasefire by President Rodrigo Duterte.
He called Duterte “volatile” and a “hoodlum (butangero)” but clarified that failure of the ceasefire should not derail the peace process.
Amid the ceasefire debacle, Sison said the negotiating panels of the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front, CPP’s political arm, should still continue to talk and “iron out kinks.”
“As far as I am concerned, dapat ituloy ang August 20 to 27 formal talks sa Oslo (they should continue plans to hold formal talks in Oslo on August 20 to 27),” he said.
Sison on Saturday insisted that while Duterte announced a unilateral ceasefire with the New People’s Army (NPA), soldiers on the ground have been violating it.
Sison, in an interview with INQUIRER.net, said Duterte also ignored the CPP’s advisory that it will release its reciprocal ceasefire announcement at 8 p.m. Saturday, three hours after the President’s deadline.
“Volatile ang character ni Duterte at may asal butangero (Duterte’s character is volatile and he has a tendency to act like a hoodlum),” said Sison, who was a former professor of Duterte at the Lyceum University.
Sison and Duterte used to have a relatively good relationship. They discussed the possibility of Sison, who is on exile in the Netherlands, going home and Duterte implementing pro-poor policies.
In an earlier interview with INQUIRER.net, the chief political consultant of the NDF acknowledged that Duterte has a “loose mouth” but also “strength of character.”
Sison called Duterte’s unilateral ceasefire “fictitious.” He said that while Duterte, in his first State of the Nation Address last Monday, claimed that it is effective immediately, the “Somo” (Suspension of military operations) was released the next day.
He said the Somo itself was “defective” since military operations were allegedly not halted and troops occupying communities, schools and barangay halls remained.
“Sabi rin ng Southern Mindanao Command ng NPA na non-existent ang ceasefire ni Duterte sa AFP and PNP. Hindi sila sumusunod sa ceasefire order ng kanilang commander in chief,” Sison said.
(The NPA’s Southern Mindanao Command said Duterte’s ceasefire was non-existent to the AFP and PNP. They are not following the ceasefire order of their own commander in chief.)
Sison said Duterte was being inappropriate when he gave an ultimatum on the reciprocal ceasefire following an encounter between the military and the NPA.
Sison claimed that the NPA immediately prepared a report about the army’s refusal to follow Duterte’s unilateral ceasefire by allegedly attacking NPA territory and “abusing” local communities.
The CPP is expected to give a statement on Sunday morning on the lifting of the government’s unilateral ceasefire.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.