Posts

No more talks with ‘deranged Duterte’–Sison

National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison said there may no longer be peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) under Rodrigo Duterte, accusing both the president and the military of making the process impossible.

Responding to yet another Duterte declaration that he is still open to resuming the negotiations, Sison said the revolutionary forces may spend their time better by concentrating on intensifying their “people’s war.”

In a campaign sortie in Tuguegarao City Tuesday, Duterte again appeared to have changed his mind and said he is still open to peace negotiations with the NDFP.

“Kayong mga NPA (New People’s Army), kung gusto talaga ninyo ng usapang matino, [you declare] immediate ceasefire. Walang magdala ng armas sa kampo ninyo o sa labas, walang taxation, walang pangsunog,” Duterte said. (You, NPA, if you really want to seriously talk, declare an immediate ceasefire. Do not bring arms within and outside your camps, do not impose taxation and do not go around burning.)

He also again invited Sison to come home from The Netherlands to resume peace negotiations.

“Umuwi ka dito, Sison. Ako ang bahala sa iyo. Hindi ako traydor na tao. I give you my honor, word of honor. Mag-usap tayo,” Duterte said, adding however that he could not talk about a coalition government with the Left. (You come home. I will take care of you. I am not a traitor. We will talk.)

“Pero nothing about coalition government. You can never have even an iota of a sovereign powers of the Republic of the Philippines. I am not allowed to do that. Kaya itong mga sundalo mag-coup d’etat ito. Ako pa ang mamatay,” Duterte said. (These soldiers might stage a coup d’etat and kill me.)

But Sison said a resumption of the talks may be impossible at present, saying Duterte military have rendered negotiations impossible by doing the following:

  1. Duterte has formally terminated the peace negotiations with the NDFP with Proclamation 360.
  2. He has designated the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines) and the NPA as terrorist.
  3. He has rejected the substantive agenda of the peace negotiations stipulated by The Hague Joint Declaration and the Joint Agreement on the Sequence, Formation and Operationalization of the Reciprocal Working Committees.
  4. He has wantonly violated the safety and immunity guarantees under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) by ordering the arrest of NDFP consultants and their murder if there are no witnesses, as in the case of Randy Malayao.
  5. He has unilaterally scrapped the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and has dismantled the GRP section of the Joint Monitoring Committee.
  6. He has unleashed his military and police dogs to red-tag, frame up and kill at will social activists and suspected revolutionaries in his all-out war and pursuit of fascist dictatorship.

Sison added the military also actively interfered to stop the peace negotiations for the following reasons:

  1. The GRP negotiating panel cannot obtain the surrender of the armed revolutionary movement of the people through a protracted and indefinite ceasefire and
  2. the NDFP negotiating panel is gaining credit for pushing social, economic and political reforms to address the roots of the armed conflict.

Sison recalled that since The Hague Joint Declaration of September 1, 1992, the most “reactionary diehards in the military” have always acted to shorten the peace negotiations under every GRP administration.

“Under the pressure of the military, Duterte has terminated and practically killed the peace negotiations since he issued Proclamation 360 on November 23, 2017,” Sison said, adding the president has proceeded to drive more nails into the coffin of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.

Sison also dismissed GRP’s localized peace negotiations scheme as patently false, saying no revolutionary would ever fall for its trap.

He added that it is actually favorable for the revolutionary forces to fight an openly tyrannical Duterte regime as in the time of the deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Sison also dismissed Duterte’s invitation for him to come home, saying his time is better spent on research, writing and publishing “without being distracted by back channel talks and flip-flops by the mentally, politically and morally deranged Duterte.” # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

PNP surfaces NDFP’s Frank Fernandez

The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Army finally surfaced National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant Francisco “Ka Frank” Fernandez after arresting him early Sunday morning and denying he was in their custody to human rights responders.

In a press conference at Camp Crame this morning, PNP chief Oscar Albayalde said Fernandez was arrested in Barangay Calumpang, Liliw, Laguna at 5:15 a.m. Sunday morning and, like five fellow NDFP consultants earlier arrested, was allegedly found to be in possession of firearms, ammunition and grenades.

Fernandez was arrested with his wife Cleofe Lagtapon and Gee-Ann Perez and are facing charges of violation of Commission on Election (Comelec) Resolution 10429 in relation to the Omnibus Election Code as well as violation of Republic Act 10591 (Illegal possession of firearms) and violation of Republic Act 9516 (Illegal possession of explosives), the PNP said.

Three caliber .45 pistols, three magazines with 15 live bullets and three grenades were allegedly found in their possession.

Fernandez also has four standing murder arrest warrants while his wife was included in one of the arrest warrants, the PNP said.

The three are under the custody of the Military Intelligence Group of Calabarzon and are set to face illegal firearms and explosives possession charges, the police added.

Fernandez, a former Roman Catholic priest, was a long-time NDFP spokesperson in Negros Island.

‘Hide and seek’

Human rights group Karapatan, however, slammed the PNP for withholding the three’s whereabouts for more than a day despite asking various police and military camps in Region IV-A and the National Capital Region.

“Legal counsel and paralegals went to Camp Vicente Lim in Canlubang, Laguna; Camp Paciano Rizal in Sta. Cruz, Laguna; Laguna Provincial Police Office and Municipal Police Office in Sta. Cruz, Laguna; Camp Crame in Quezon City; and Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City. Military and police officers denied having the three in their custody,” Karapatan said in a statement.

“This morning of March 25, legals counsels and paralegals went to the ISAFP Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City; NBI National Office in Manila; and Camp Crame, Quezon City. The same answer was given to them,” the group added.

Karapatan said it was only after further prodding that unidentified officials revealed that the three arrested persons were in the Army General Hospital in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City.

Karapatan said that lawyers and paralegals should have access to those arrested, particularly the elderly couple Fernandez and Lagtapon, aged 71 and 66, respectively.

Fernandez and his wife are reportedly in Laguna to seek medical treatment.

Karapatan raised the possibility that the three might be subjected to physical and psychological torture, a reported practice of state forces during arrests.

“Access of lawyers to the victims on time and ascertaining the responsible units and officers are a deterrent to the ill-treatment of arrested persons,” Karapatan said.

The group said the police and the military deliberately played a game of hide and seek, instead of directly giving the whereabouts of the detainees to their legal counsels, as mandated by Republic Act 7438 or the rights of persons arrested, detained or under custodial investigation law.

‘Ordered by Duterte’

NDFP’s chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison, for his part, condemned yet another allegation by the police that its latest arrested peace consultant and companions were in possession of guns and ammunition at the time of their arrest.

“Following the orders publicly given by their master (President Rodrigo) Duterte, the criminals in uniform always plant firearms and frame up NDFP consultants,” Sison told Kodao.

Sison said that planting such false evidence is the police’s way of violating the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) between the NDFP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.

Sison said that when there are no witnesses, so-called “criminals in authority” kill NDFP consultants as in the case of Randy Felix Malayao.

Malayao was killed in his sleep inside a bus in Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya last January 30.

Sison said the planting of firearms is meant to justify also the arrest of people or witnesses who are in the company of the NDFP consultant.

NDFP peace consultants Rafael Baylosis, Adelberto Silva, Vicente Ladlad, Rey Claro Casambre and Reynante Gamarahave been arrested in succession from January 2018 and all were charged with illegal possession of firearms along with their respective companions.

“In the first place, they are even supposed not to surveil NDFP consultants under JASIG,” Sison explained.

New presidential adviser on the peace process Carlito Galvez Jr., however, said last Wednesday the JASIG is no longer operable since Duterte terminated the talks in November 2017.

“[T]he formal negotiation was terminated along with Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) through Proclamation 360 by President Rodrigo Duterte on November 2017,” Galvez said in a statement.

The NDFP, however, said the JASIG is still in effect.

“The safety and immunity guarantees for NDFP consultants are continuing even in case of breakdown or termination of the peace negotiations,” Sison said.

Baylosis was released last January 18 after the Quezon City Regional Trial Court dismissed charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives against him. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

‘Unli’ termination, Joma says of Duterte’s latest ending of talks

Like an old broken record, Jose Maria Sison said of President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest announcement of termination of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) peace negotiations.

“Duterte is like an old broken record repeating ad nauseam his termination of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations,” Sison, NDFP chief political consultant, said.

Duterte again announced Thursday at the 122nd Philippine Army Founding Anniversary at Fort Bonifacio in Manila that he has permanently ended peace negotiations with the Left.

“I am officially announcing the permanent termination of our talks between the government panel and the Communist Party of the Philippines,” Duterte said.

“You can maybe talk to the next President of this Republic one day,” he said.

Duterte’s announcement came three days after he dissolved his government’s negotiating panel and terminated its members led by Labor secretary Silvestre H. Bello III.

‘As early as November 2017’

But Sison said that Duterte’s latest announcement means nothing as the GRP leader already ended the peace negotiations in November 2017 and has since refused to return to the negotiating table.

“As far as the NDFP is concerned, Duterte formally killed the peace negotiations on November 23, 2017 with his Proclamation 360 terminating them,” Sison said.

Duterte’s repeated announcement of peace talks termination since then is merely driving more nails into the coffin of the negotiations under his regime, he added.

Sison said Duterte only wants the armed conflict to continue as an excuse to impose a de facto martial law nationwide and eventually a full-blown fascist dictatorship.

Duterte also wants to push through his charter change in order to impose his “bogus kind of federalism,” Sison said.

‘Waiting for a new GRP’

Sison agreed with Duterte that it may be best to wait for a new GRP administration to revive the stalled peace negotiations.

“As far as the NDFP is concerned, the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations can be resurrected in the future by a new GRP administration,” Sison said.

Sison said the Duterte regime may even be finished earlier than 2022.

“The Duterte regime is not eternal. It can be finished with the success of the oust movement, with the end of his term in 2022 or with his certain overthrow as he forces his way to a fascist dictatorship,” Sison said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Joma to Digong: Killing 30k drug suspects is what is insane

National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison said there is nothing rotten or insane about fighting for independence and democracy.

Replying to yet another tirade from President Rodrigo Duterte, Sison said what is insane is killing 30,000 drug suspects as well as mass murdering workers, peasants, indigenous peoples, social activists and human rights advocates to preserve the ruling system.

“What is totally rotten is for Duterte to be serving the interests of both US and Chinese imperialists, the big compradors, landlords and his fellow corrupt bureaucrat capitalists who oppress and exploit the people,” Sison said.

Sison was replying to Duterte’s speech during the annual assembly of the Provincial Union of Leaders Against Illegality (PULI) at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City, Quezon Province Monday where he again admitted ordering the killing of drug addicts.

“You know why I ordered you killed? To end your problems,” Duterte said.

Another tirade

Duterte also launched into another tirade against local Communists, calling revolutionary forces purveyors of an “insane” and “rotten” ideology.

“I have not seen a group of people [as] affected by mass insanity,” Duterte said, adding communism is a “rotten ideology.”

Duterte said he is not averse to socialism but could not understand why the revolutionary groups must carry arms.

“I listen to Sison. The problem is, I cannot go into an armed struggle, carry arms to win and fight for a lost cause. The communist ideology is over and done with,” Duterte said.

Duterte also claimed that the Communists do not even have a single community under its control.

“Do you think you can take over the government? Not in a million years. You cannot even hold a single barangay,” Duterte said.

In a quick reply, Sison also said Duterte is in denial that revolutionary forces are widespread all over the country.

“The people’s democratic government is now operating in more than 15,000 barangays and it is advancing in waves until it can overthrow the counterrevolutionary state of the big compradors, landlords and corrupt bureaucrats like him,” Sison said.

China and Russia

Sison added it is Duterte who is rotten for serving the interests of the United States and China, as well the local ruling elite and corrupt government officials who oppress and exploit the people.   

Duterte’s repeated challenge to local Communists to visit China as well as Russia to observe how capitalism has taken over is insanity, Sison said.

“Filipino revolutionaries have contempt for the restoration of capitalism in China and Russia but are pleased at the same time that the rise of Chinese and Russian monopoly capitalism is now intensifying the contradictions among the imperialist powers,” he explained.

“Only an incorrigible traitor and tyrant and someone insane can glorify imperialist China and Russia, seek to keep the Philippines a prey to both old and new imperialist,” Sison said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Court clears NDFP peace consultant Rafael Baylosis and companion

By Joseph Cuevas

The Regional Trial Court Branch 100 in Quezon City dismissed the cases of illegal possession of firearms and explosives against National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant Rafael Baylosis and companion Guillermo Roque.

In a 27-page decision last January 15, Judge Editha Miña-Aguba pointed out the illegality of the police surveillance and arrest.

The judge said evidence must be believable and must come from a credible witness, something the charges against Baylosis and Roque failed to show.

According to Public Interest Law Center (PILC) lawyers, the arrest against Baylosis and Roque January last year was illegal because the police insisted that the accused were roaming through Manila and Quezon City with guns tucked in their waists and toted around a bag of red rice with a grenade inside.

Baylosis’s defense poked holes into their story, pointing out not only lapses but grievous procedural mistakes, and thus exposed concerted, malicious efforts to fabricate the charges, the defense lawyers said.

PILC added that the dismissal of Baylosis case proved not only his innocence but exposes the police illegal actions, undue surveillance, illegal arrest, planting of evidences and filling of trumped up charges against peace consultants and political activists.

NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison said he is glad about the development.

“Mabuting nadismiss ang charges of illegal gun possesion sa kaso ni Raffy dahil napatunayan na planted ang evidence,” Sison told Kodao.

“Dapat ganoon din ang mangyari sa kaso nina Vic Ladlad, Rey Casambre at iba pang plinantahan ng mga baril at explosive,” Sison added.

Lengua De Guzman, daughter of Baylosis and convenor of Free Raffy Baylosis Committee, said they are looking to file counter charges against the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police and the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines as well as all other participants in the fabrication of criminal charges.

The dismissal followed Judge Aguba’s decision granting the demurer to evidence last June 2018 in favor of another peace consultant Ruben Saluta and his companions who were charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives, citing the broken chain of custody and inconsistency of witnesses’ testimonies against Saluta and company.

In November 2015, Judge Aguba also acquitted NDF consultant Eduardo Serrano in a multiple murder case for the failure of prosecution to identify him as “Rogelio Villanueva”.

Serrano, who was imprisoned for 11 years, died in detention last January 2016 due to cardiac arrest.

Baylosis was the first peace consultant arrested last January 2018 after President Duterte unilaterally terminated the peace negotiations and made a crackdown against peace consultants.

Adelberto Silva, Vicente Ladlad and Rey Claro Casambrewere arrested in October, November and December 2018, respectively. #

Joma says no back channel talks with Andal

National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison clarified that he was not informed of any planned backchannel talks with any representative of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Asked to confirm Movie and Television Review and Classification Board member Avelino Andal’s claim he was tapped by Duterte to open backchannel talks with the NDFP, Sison told Kodao that he has yet to talk to Andal.

“He has not approached anyone of us in Utrecht,” Sison said.

Newspapers reported Tuesday that Andal claimed he was ordered by Duterte to talk to Sison to try to revive the peace negotiations between the NDFP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) .

“Actually, napag-utusan ang inyong lingkod, utos mula sa Presidente kung maari i-resume ang pag-uusap sapagkat ang kanyang pinagdidiinan bilang Presidente, siya ay kaibigan at ‘di kaaway ng sinuman, kabilang na rebelde,” the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted Andal in its report. (I was ordered by the President if the talks could be resumed because he is resolute that he is a friend, not an enemy, to everyone, including the rebels.)

Andal reportedly claimed he already sent “feelers” to the communist rebels, who were “extremely glad” of the President’s move.

Palace officials were quick to deny Andal’s claim, however.

‘Fake news’

In a Philippine News Agency report yesterday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana described Andal’s claim as “fake news.”

“The President says he never ordered him to do so,” Lorenzana reportedly said.

Former Presidential aide Christopher Go for his part said Duterte did not order Andal to talk to Sison.

“Look, everybody is talking. So [I have] no instruction on Andal about back channeling,” Go quoted Duterte as saying in a phone interview.

In a Palace briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo neither confirmed nor denied reports that Duterte has ordered Andal to lead the backdoor talks with Sison.

“I do not think so. He (Andal) is not involved in the negotiation process. Members of the panel would be (Labor) Secretary (Silvestre) Bello, he’s one of them,” Panelo said.

‘Only the GRP panel’

Sison said he believes the statements of Duterte and Lorenzana that the President did not order Andal to open back channel talks with him and others in Utrecht.

“Andal himself has admitted that he wished to do back channel talks in his private capacity,” Sison clarified.

He added that he is not sure if he remembers Andal.

Sison said that as far as the NDFP Negotiating Panel is concerned, it continues to recognize as its counterpart the GRP Negotiating Panel under the chairmanship of Silvestre (Bebot) Bello III.

“[The NDFP] has not been informed by the GRP of any change of representation that is different from the panel headed by Bello,” he said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Petition amendment proves terrorist proscription vs CPP-NPA arbitrary–lawyer

The Rodrigo Duterte government’s amendment to its petition to proscribe revolutionary groups as terrorists is proof that it has a weak case against the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA), a human rights lawyer said.

In a statement, National Union of People’s Lawyer president Edre Olalia said the government’s original petition filed in February 2018 is weak and is merely a move to railroad the legal process.

“[The] amended petition by the government to proscribe the CPP-NPA is proof that the original one was sloppy, shotgun and arbitrary against hundreds of individuals and was designed to harass and threaten them,” Olalia said.

Last January 3, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed the amended petition before Branch 19 of the Regional Trial Court in Manila.

Six hundred individuals listed as “terrorists” in the original petition have been taken off  but retained CPP founding chairperson Jose Maria Sison; NPA national operations command spokesperson Jorge Madlos; NPA’s Melito Glor Command spokesperson Jaime Padilla, National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Negros spokesperson Francisco Fernandez; alleged CPP-Visayas deputy secretary Cleofe Lagtapon; alleged CPP Mindanao Commission secretary Antonio Cabanatan; alleged NPA-Mindanao leader; and alleged NPA-Mindanao operations chief Myrna Sularte.

The amended petition no longer includes United Nations Environment Programme 2018 Champion of the Earth awardee Joan Carling and five Baguio activists like Jeanette Ribaya-Cawiding.

Cawiding, former chair of the Tongtongan ti Umili and coordinator of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), said the new petition removes them from immediate danger posed by being labelled as terrorists, but said government spying on non-government organizations remains as a threat to free speech and human rights.

“This is a partial victory, but we cannot let our guard down,” Cawiding said.

She points to the latest red-tagging of ACT and harassment of teachers who are ACT members as proof that the threat against activists and government critics will continue.

“Harassment has been continuous against progressive organizations, like ACT, the delisting of the individuals named in the DOJ proscription does not guarantee the protection of our rights and our safety because the Philippine National Police and Malacañang are justifying their witch hunt in the context of [Duterte’s] Executive Order 70,” Cawiding said.

EO 70, signed last December, directs the creation of a national task force headed by the President and vice-chaired by the National Security Adviser to end local communist armed conflict and pushed for localized peace talks.

The court earlier directed the DOJ to remove the names of Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples Concerns and former Baguio councilor Jose Molintas.

Molintas was also a former member of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP).

Corpuz, Carling, Longid and Molintas are former leaders of the militant Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA), which Cariño helped establish as an indigenous peoples’ rights group that opposed the Marcos regime.

Current CPA chair Windell Bolinget said strong protests pushed the DOJ to amend its proscription petition.

But he said the threat does not end.

“They wanted the proscription of the CPP and NPA as terrorists by focusing on few names. Once they are proscribed as terrorists, people they suspect, vilify and attack as fronts and supporters will be linked and later considered terrorists. This is the danger,” Bolinget said.

Still dangerous

Olalia said that even with the amendment, the petition remains dangerous to those earlier named.

“[The] present petition remains to be without legal and factual basis and repackaged the old one in order to railroad the legal process. This will in turn violate a slew of individual and collective rights not only for those who remain in the list but many others who are maliciously identified, associated, suspected or labelled,” Olalia said.

IFI Bishop Vermilon Tagalog, chair of the regional coordinating committee of the Ilocos Network for the Environment welcomed the amended DOJ petition but said “the removal of names does not guarantee their safety”.

“The mere existence of the DOJ petition remains a clear threat especially with the insistent communist-tagging of Duterte’s administration of activists and progressive organizations,” Tagalog added.

Tagalog said that the Human Security Act of 2007, the DOJ’s basis for the filing of the proscription petition is not just directed against “terrorists” but also to critics of the government.

“We call on all environmental defenders to remain vigilant and steadfast in the fight against efforts of the administration to impose its tyrannical rule and clamped-down on our democratic rights.” #(Raymund B. Villanueva/ Kodao and Kimberlie Olmaya Ngabit-Quitasol/Northern Dispatch)

NDFP waiting for GRP offer to reopen talks, Joma says

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) would be willing to explore whatever offer the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) would be making to reopen the stalled peace talks, Jose Maria Sison said.

In a statement, Sison said he sees a silver lining in GRP President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent statement that he would be willing to go back to peace negotiations on the premise that the revolutionary movement could tone down its offensives against the military and police.

“There is some silver lining in [Duterte’s] statement that he is willing to engage in peace negotiations. In this regard, the NDFP is open to exploring whatever opening the GRP is willing to offer,” Sison said.

Sison explained that if peace negotiations between the GRP and the NDFP resume and reach a point where substantial agreements are made, ceasefire can be agreed upon by the negotiating parties.

‘We can talk’

In his recent speech in Masbate Province, Duterte said his government and the revolutionary movement can talk if the New People’s Army (NPA) would lessen its attacks against government troops.

“But if they can tone down, no ambush, no killing of my policemen and my military, we can talk,” Duterte said.

Otherwise, Duterte said that he will allow the purchase of individual firearms, including mayors, to protect them from NPA attacks.

Duterte said local politicians “feel naked” without firearms.

Duterte repeated his statement Thursday in a speech at the turnover of housing units to several soldiers and police personnel in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan Thursday.

“Give me another reason to talk to you again and I will be there,” Duterte said.

‘Agreements more plausible’

Sison advised Duterte to resume peace talks instead of arming civilians, saying a peace agreement is more plausible and less costly than for the government than to keep trying to destroy revolutionary forces.

Sison said the President still has time if he chooses a political agreement rather than an all-out war.

“In the next three years, it is possible for the GRP and NDFP to make a peace agreement if the Duterte regime is serious and sincere about negotiating and ending its all-out war against the revolutionary forces and the people,” Sison said.

“It is even more plausible and less costly for a peace agreement to be made by the two parties than for the GRP to seek in vain the destruction of the revolutionary forces in the next three years,” Sison said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Duterte again says he is open to talks with NDFP

Despite his repeated orders to wipe out the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), President Rodrigo Duterte said he is still open to reviving peace negotiations with the Left.

Duterte again changed tone and told Cabinet members and other officials in Bicol Friday some communication lines are still open for the revival of peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Duterte said he cannot afford to completely close communication lines with the Left.

“I’d like you to know we are keeping the fire burning and hindi pwedeng sarahan. You cannot afford to lose all channels of communication. Mag-iwan ka talaga maski maliit,” he said.

Duterte’s latest turnaround came after the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its founding chairman Jose Maria Sison announced that the revolutionary movement will prioritize his ouster starting this year.

An increasingly quarrelsome Duterte repeatedly cancelled formal rounds of peace negotiations with the NDFP since middle of 2017 despite successful efforts by both the NDFP and government peace panels to forge social and economic reform as well as ceasefire agreements.

He issued Proclamation No. 360 on November 23, 2017 terminating the peace negotiations and followed it up with Proclamation No. 374 on December 5, 2017 designating the CPP and the New People’s Army (NPA) as ¨terrorist¨ organizations.

Sison said the two proclamations are aimed at putting up permanent walls against peace negotiations.

Two key Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) peace negotiators have since resigned.

Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza resigned for “failing to curb corruption” at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process while GRP ceasefire committee chairperson Francisco Lara left over “additional preconditions” for the resumption of formal negotiations that “torpedoed” certain aspects of the peace talks.

Meanwhile, the NDFP has consistently said it is open to any sincere peace negotiations, even with the “tyrant” Duterte.

Welcome Duterte statement

NDFP chief political consultant Sison said he welcomes Duterte’s latest turnaround.

“Enemies need peace negotiations before they can become friends or partners for the sake of the Filipino people who desire social, economic and political reforms as basis for a just and lasting peace,” Sison said in a statement issued a few hours after Duterte’s statement.

“I welcome the statement of Duterte that he is still open to peace negotiations even as there is still an exchange of hostile words in the mass media and exchange of bullets in the battlefield,” he said.

Sison explained it is the consistent policy of the NDFP to be open to peace negotiations with the Duterte regime despite their determination to seek the ouster of his regime.

“It is for the benefit of the people that the peace negotiations resume and stop the Duterte regime from proclaiming martial law nationwide, from calling off or rigging the May 2019 elections and from pursuing the scheme to impose a fascist dictatorship on the Filipino people via charter change for a bogus kind of federalism,” Sison said.

Sison added the NDFP presumes that, when peace negotiations resume, the way is open to the forging of agreements on social, economic and political reforms “desired and needed by the people.” # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NDFP to work for Duterte’s ouster–Joma

While it is still open to peace talks should the Manila government decide to resume the cancelled negotiations, the main task of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) is to work for Rodrigo Duterte’s ouster, Prof. Jose Maria Sison said.

In a statement, Sison said the NDFP is authorized to be open to peace negotiations with either the current government or its replacement, but “its principal work now is to work for the ouster of the Duterte regime” and help bring an end to the country’s worsening social, economic and political crises.

Sison warned that the Duterte government is on track to only aggravate the socio-economic and political crises in the country by imposing heavier taxes and causing high inflation while surely failing to curb government corruption in 2019.

“Within the year, the Duterte regime will further inflict grave social and economic suffering on the people and unleash mass murder and other human rights violations in a futile attempt to destroy the armed revolutionary movement and intimidate the people,” he said.

“The state terrorism will victimize not only the toiling masses of the people but also the middle social strata and even those in the upper classes who do not belong to the small and narrow ruling clique of Duterte,” Sison added.

Sison also warned of the possibility of a “no-election” scenario in May 2019 should Duterte decide to impose “a fascist dictatorship ala Marcos by using de facto or proclaimed martial law nationwide” and the railroading of charter change for a bogus kind of federalism.

If such a scenario happens, Duterte is capable of centralizing power in his hands and would handpick his regional and provincial agents among the local dynasties and warlords, Sison predicted.

Not peace, but surrender

Personalities close to Duterte said the resumption of peace negotiations with the NDFP is still possible.

In a press briefing at Malacañ last Thursday (December 27), government chief negotiator and labor secretary Silvestre Bello III said it is still “possible” to go back to the peace table with the NDFP.

“Anything is possible. The President’s commitment to our country is inclusive and lasting peace for our country. If it means resuming the peace negotiations, why not?” Bello said.

Bello, however, admitted that the government has shifted towards its so-called “local peace talks.”

No New People’s Army (NPA) unit has yet come forward to agree to the government’s revived proposal.

Former special assistant to the President, Christopher “Bong” Go also appealed to the NDFP not to close the door to the resumption of the negotiations.

“I call on the NPA to trust President Duterte. There is no other leader like him who will sincerely talk peace with you,” Go told reporters in San Andres town, Quezon province last December 17.


Duterte, however, recently ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines to destroy the Communist movement in the Philippines as evidenced by his refusal to reciprocate the NPAs unilateral ceasefire declarations in time for Christmas, the new year, and the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) 50th founding anniversary celebrations.

Five tasks in 2019

“Duterte is not interested in serious peace negotiations to address the roots of the armed conflict and make comprehensive agreements on social, economic and political reforms in order to lay the basis for a just and lasting peace,” Sison said.

“What he wants is the impossible, which is the surrender of the revolutionary movement of the people,” he added.

Sison said that in view of Duterte’s anti-people governance and anti-peace stance, the people expect five things from the revolutionary movement:

  1. The CPP will perform its overall leading role in the people’s democratic revolution, “promptly, correctly and clearly”;
  2. The NPA will intensify its tactical offensives to defeat the campaign of the enemy to destroy it while carrying out agrarian revolution and mass work;
  3. The various types of mass organizations will be expanded as the source of strength of the CPP, NPA and the people’s democratic government;
  4. The people’s democratic government will be strengthened to take charge of administration and programs for the benefit of the people, such as land reform, public education, production, health and sanitation, cultural work, defense, arbitration and people’s court, environmental protection and disaster relief; and

The NDFP will further strengthen itself and cooperate with all possible allies in the broad united front in order to isolate and oust the Duterte regime from power. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)