Duterte rejects NDF’s plea to free 130 political prisoners
President Duterte on Monday night said he has rejected the request of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to release more than 130 political prisoners as part of the confidence-building measures in the peace negotiations between the communists and the government.
Speaking at the Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Malacañang, the President reiterated his administration’s sincerity in ending the country’s protracted communist insurgency.
But he said he was not about to free communist rebels serving time for criminal offenses.
“They’re asking for the release of 130 political prisoners. I told them ‘I cannot give you that.’ I’m sorry, but I have already conceded so much on the side of the government,” Mr. Duterte said.
He said he had told the NDFP representatives to present documents signed by both the negotiating panels of the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines before he could order their release.
The President, however, said he was ready to free sickly convicts and those who are 70 years old and above.
“If they are ready to be released and will be accepted by the families, I will release them before Christmas time,” he said, adding:
“There’s really no point in detaining a person who are old and sickly. It’s a very awkward feeling. I’m uncomfortable with that.”
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