CPP assails Duterte’s termination of talks

THE Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemned Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) President Rodrigo Duterte’s attempt to terminate formal peace talks between his administration and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

In a statement today, the CPP said Duterte has gone “berserk” in trying to upturn the entire peace process and waste the achievements attained in peace talks over the past few months.

“(Duterte) has crushed the people’s aspiration to carry out peace negotiations as a means of resolving the roots of the ongoing civil war,” the CPP said.

In its strongest statement yet against its erstwhile ally, the CPP said Duterte is acting like a “double-speaking thug who only recognizes his own rules.”

While recognizing his role in the liberty of 18 NDFP peace consultants, the CPP said Duterte has not really “done everything” as he and his Cabinet officials claim.

“Duterte is now proving the consultants were never completely free as they constantly were under threat of re-arrest the moment the peace talks did not go along his whims. He has also failed to release all political prisoners, a promise he has repeatedly made,” CPP said.

The CPP said Duterte only released the consultants because he would have no one to talk to otherwise.

“He is presenting himself a charlatan who does not know the true meaning of just and lasting peace,” the underground party added.

“Height of treachery”

The CPP also denounced the arrest last Monday of NDFP peace consultant Ariel Arbitrario in Davao City.

“The CPP assails the Duterte order to re-arrest and detain all JASIG-protected NDFP consultants, particularly those who were released last August for the talks,” the CPP said.

The underground party also revealed that Duterte ordered the arrest of NDFP consultants who had been ordered released by the courts long before he became president.

“Not only will re-arresting the NDFP consultants be a gross violation of the JASIG (Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees), it will also be the height of treachery and will prove him incapable of respecting agreements,” the CPP said.

The Reds said the re-arrest of NDFP consultants on Duterte’s orders even in the absence of outstanding court orders is tantamount to flaunting GRP law and exercising despotic authority.

The CPP has offered the NDFP consultants sanctuary in New People’s Army (NPA) territories.

“The besieged NDFP consultants can avail of the security of the NPA and enjoy the freedom in the guerrilla zones,” the CPP said.

“Respect basic rights”

Earlier, writer Fides Lim appealed to the Philippine National Police to respect her husband’s—NDFP peace consultant Vicente Ladlad—human rights.

“I’ve read the news that Vic (Ladlad’s nickname) is in the list of NDF consultants to be arrested. Please note that Vic has left the house since President Duterte announced that arrests will be made. Should you still go to our house to arrest him, please just look for me and I’ll talk to you,” Lim wrote.

“We live with my very old parents who are sickly and very fragile. I don’t want your arresting unit to do anything that will upset or bring harm to them and our family,” she explained.

Lim also informed PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa of Ladlad’s fragile health in her open letter.

“Should at any time the PNP arrest Vic, please know that he’s sickly – he’s a chronic asthmatic which has degenerated into emphysema. Please don’t hurt him in any way and please recognize his basic rights,” Lim wrote.

Unlike those who were recently released for the peace talks, Ladlad had been out in the open for years already, Lim said. (Raymund B. Villanueva)