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Palace says no to Joma’s proposal to meet with Duterte

/ 09:42 PM January 16, 2018

Communist leader Jose Maria Sison and President Rodrigo Duterte. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS)

“He’s not that important.”

Malacañang on Tuesday turned down the proposal of exiled Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chair Jose Maria Sison to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte to revive the peace talks between the government and communist rebels.

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Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the peace talks would resume only after the CPP, and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, “humbled themselves” and stopped attacking government security forces.

“Sorry to burst his bubble (but) he’s not that important,” Roque said about Sison’s proposal to meet with Duterte.

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Roque denied that the President offered to meet with Sison in an interview with news outlet Mindanews as a precondition for peace talks to resume.

He explained that the context of the President’s statement was that the NPA should first humble themselves.

“In other words, contextually, it is not as if the President said, he is willing to resume with peace talks after he talks to Joma Sison. No!” Roque said.

“What he said was the NPA should humble themselves and the possibility of a one-on-one meeting was proposed by the journalist and the President said, ‘One on one, that is possible.’ But that is not a pre-condition for the resumption of peace talks,” he said.

Roque said the communist rebels were thinking high of themselves, “and there is also the issue that they want power sharing which is impossible.”

“Also in terms of sincerity, remember (the peace talks) was called off because in the first place while talking peace, they kept on targeting our soldiers. In one instance at turning point was when a soldier sustained 30 gunshot wounds,” Roque said.

“So what’s the point of talking peace when you will shoot 30 times at the soldier na while talking peace?” he added.

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Roque also regretted the communist rebels decision not to participate in the court proceedings meant to judicially determine if the insurgents were “terrorists.”

The President in December declared the CPP and the NPA as terrorist organizations and the Department of Justice is set to ask a regional trial court this week to declare them as such.

“They have also said that they will not appear in the Court proceedings, which is too bad because that would be their opportunity to dispute that they are terrorists,” Roque said.

“They are waiving their right to be heard. Of course the law provides that they should be heard and since they are waiving it. We can’t do anything about it,” he added.

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TAGS: Communist Party of the Philippines, Joma Sison, Peace Talks, Philippine news updates, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque
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