Joma dismisses Duterte’s threat to kill him

National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison made light of yet another threat against him by his former student Rodrigo Duterte.

Responding to Duterte’s latest invective-laced tirade against him, Sison said the President has repeated so many times to kill him he is considering it a “term of endearment.“

“[S]ometimes I surmise that the expression ‘kill‘ has actually become a term of endearment, as in some American comedies,“ Sison said.

In a speech in Davao City Thursday night, Duterte said that should Sison accept his offer to come home and yet the peace negotiations between the NDFP and his government fail, he would allow his former professor to leave but would order him never to return.

“I will allow him to go out. I will not arrest him because word of honor ‘yan. But sabihin ko talaga sa kanya, putangina mo, huwag ka na bumalik dito. Papatayin talaga kita,” Duterte said. (But I will really tell him, you son of a bitch, do not return anymore. I will really kill you.)

Sison said he will not reply to Duterte in any hostile manner, but added he would draw the line if his former student actually wrecks the work already done by the NDFP and Duterte’s negotiating panels to prepare the resumption of formal peace talks.

“It seems to me that in using strong words he is eager to resume the peace negotiations rather than to block them,“ Sison said.

Sison added it is best that he and Duterte allow and encourage the GRP and the NDFP negotiating panels to continue preparing for the resumption of formal talks and make substantial progress as soon as possible.

Sison has been quoted by earlier reports to have predicted that formal negotiations may resume on the last week of June after the declaration of a mutual stand-down agreement between the New People’s Army and government forces.

The NDFP and Government of the Republic of the Philippines negotiating panels are expected to firm up agreements on social and economic reforms, specifically on agrarian reform and rural development as well as national industrialization and economic development, should the thrice-cancelled fifth round of talks finally push through.

“I have reason to be optimistic on the basis of the hard and productive work that the panels have already done in the form of back channel consultations, consensus building and bilateral drafting, unless the Duterte regime is once more backtracking,” Sison said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

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