Former president Rodrigo Duterte admitted he threatened to kill the late National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison that contributed to the 2017 termination of the peace process between his government and the revolutionary Left.
In a radio interview with his former chief legal adviser Salvador Panelo over DZRJ 810 AM last Wednesday, December 20, Duterte said he cursed at Sison in a phone conversation who returned the favor.
“[W]e ended up…nagmurahan kami. Pinu-t****** ko siya, sumagot din siya ng put****** mo…Sabi ko, huwag ka umuwi sa Pilipinas, papatayin kita!” Duterte narrated. (We exchanged expletives. I told him he was a son-of-a_b****. He responded in kind. I then told him, ‘Do not go home to the Philippines, I will kill you.)
Duterte did not give details on when his conversation with the Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairperson–his one time political science professor–happened.
Duterte said his call with Sison started politely, both greeting each other and their respective families with pleasantries. But their exchange turned for the worse when they started arguing about the definition of terms in the peace proposals submitted by the NDFP.
He said the particular phone call was probably listened in to by the military.
“That was the saga of the peace talks during my time. So it was terminated. Sabi ko, no peace talks anymore. Ever,” Duterte said.
The former president terminated formal negotiations with the NDFP in June 2017 when both parties were set to sign a prospective Interim Peace Agreement that included social and economic reforms and a long-term ceasefire.
In May 2017, Duterte ordered his negotiators, led by then labor secretary Silvestre Bello III, to cancel the fifth round of formal talks when both parties were already in The Netherlands for the continuation of what could have been the most successful episode in the nearly three decade history of the GRP-NDFP negotiations.
Wednesday’s rant was the longest that Duterte has addressed the peace talks issue since the Ferdinand Marcos Jr. government has announced an ongoing dialogue for the possible resumption of the negotiations.
Duterte admitted that his termination of the peace negotiations with the NDFP “was only good for my (his) term.”
“[But] A new president has initiated another,” he said, adding he wishes there would no longer be negotiations with the NDFP.
Father joins daughter in opposing talks
Duterte’s daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio also expressed her opposition to the resumption of the negotiations, calling the November 23 Joint Statement between the GRP and the NDFP a “deal with the devil” in her first-ever public rebuke of Marcos Jr.
Leaders of both the House of Representatives and the Senate have however expressed support for the initiative, lending support to speculations of a widening rift between the Dutertes and the Marcoses.
Aside from the peace talks with the NDFP, both political dynasties are seen to differ on the use of confidential-intelligence funds and the government’s stance on the West Philippine/South China Sea issue.
The Dutertes are known to be close to China while Marcos is seen to be close to the United States of America that are inching towards a possible military confrontation in the region.
The Marcos government is also seen as open to the Philippines rejoining the Rome Statute creating the International Criminal court where the Dutertes are facing investigations for alleged crimes against humanity in relation to the former president’s bloody drug war that has reportedly killed thousands in a span of just over two years. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)