Duterte daring Joma Sison for one-on-one talk in PH, Palace says
President Rodrigo Duterte is challenging Jose Maria Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines, for a one-on-one meeting in the Philippines.
In a press briefing on Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo assured that Sison, self-exiled in the Netherlands, would not be arrested when he returns.
"The President is daring him to come home to the Philippines and have a one-on-one talk with the President even before this panel?no government panel involved, no panel on the communist side," he said.
"He is asking him to come to the Philippines, there will be no enforcement of any warrant, just come to the Philippines and talk with him," Panelo, also chief presidential legal counsel, said.
Duterte earlier expressed interest to revive the peace talks with the CCP- New People's Army-National Democratic Front.
He also agreed to reciprocate the ceasefire declared by the Maoist group from December 23 to January 7 next year as part of the confidence-building measure.
But while the truce has been ongoing, the Reds allegedly attacked government troops on December 23 in Camarines Norte, resulting in the death of one soldier and injury of six others, and in Iloilo where two policemen were injured.
"We condemn also of course the violations of the ceasefire agreements. We are giving them the chance to explain why they have committed such violations," Panelo said.
He said Duterte would wait for the explanation from the CPP-NPA-NDF leadership.
NDF negotiating panel chairman Fidel Agcaoili, in a statement earlier, said there were no ceasefire violations on what happened in Camarines Norte and Iloilo.
"These were defensive actions by the NPA units involved in the face of armed attacks and sustained military operations by the AFP and the PNP (special operations unit), as attested to in separate statements issued by the Romulo Jallores Command, New People’s Army, Bicol, and the Napoleon Tumagtang," he said.
Panelo also clarified his earlier statement when he quoted Sison denying Duterte was included in the NPA hit list despite the confirmation of National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.
"I was talking to Secretary Esperon earlier and he said the inclusion of the President in the hit list has been validated by them; so it was not a wrong info fed to them. And according to him, as I said even if they deny it - Joma Sison has denied it - the fact remains that indeed the President is included in the list, including him, including the Secretary and others," Panelo said.
"And as I’ve said in the last briefing, even if there was no false information, even if that’s true, we are ready for them. Because as I said, the very organization of the Communist Party is precisely to bring down the government and to assassinate the officials of that government," he added.
Meanwhile, on the call of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to exclude the city from the truce with Reds, Panelo, quoting Duterte, said it could be done since there is no formal peace negotiation yet.
In the meantime, he said the local government of Davao City could pursue localized peace talks.
The presidential daughter earlier asked the national government to exclude Davao City in the truce and in the peace talks, stressing that she does not trust the Reds whom she called as terrorists. Celerina Monte/DMS