Joma Sison eyes ceasefire, return to PH if Duterte wins

Thea Alberto-Masakayan, ABS-CBN News

File photo from Joma Sison's website

MANILA - Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison sees the possibility of a ceasefire between communist rebels and the government if Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte wins the presidency.

Sison, who has been in exile in The Netherlands since 1987, said returning home is also an option under a Duterte administration.

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte facilitates the release of policemen and soldiers. Handout photo

This comes after the New People's Army (NPA) handed over five policemen to Duterte on Tuesday, nine days after the cops were abducted.

READ: Communist rebels hand over cops to Duterte

As chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), Sison said he talked to Duterte on Tuesday to thank him for helping in the negotiations for the release of the cops and to discuss plans for peace talks.

"We talked about the need to resume the peace negotiations and release the political prisoners unjustly imprisoned by the Arroyo and Aquino charged in violation of the Hernandez political offense doctrine and the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees," Sison told ABS-CBN News in an online interview.

READ: Peace in Mindanao: Duterte pushes talks with NPA, BBL passage

"We have good vibes because he was my student in Political Thought at the Lyceum of the Philippines," Sison added, recalling his ties with Duterte before martial law was declared in 1972.

Sison claimed Duterte promised to set a meeting "if he wins."

"The mayor said that if he wins, we would meet as soon as possible abroad and then in the Philippines," said Sison.

He said they also agreed that a ceasefire can happen even while "comprehensive agreements on social, economic and political reforms are being worked out."

"I will come home as soon as there is a sure basis for the ceasefire and the resumption of peace talks. I might even come home for a visit as early as June to witness the oath-taking of Duterte, if he wins or if he is not cheated," said Sison.

Sison's homecoming plans also include attending the launch of TIBAK, a new film about his stint as Kabataang Makabayan (KM) leader. He said Duterte was once a member of the KM.

KM was a radical student movement set up in 1964. Its leaders, including Sison, would later establish the CPP and the NPA. Many KM members went underground after martial law was declared in 1972, and it is still an underground revolutionary organization until today.

ENDORSEMENT FOR DUTERTE

Sison clarified that he has not endorsed Duterte, "because the NDFP is not supposed to interfere in the elections of the ruling system."

He, however, heaped praises on the Davao mayor.

"He is the most open to coalition government of national unity, peace and development," said Sison.

The communist leader also cited Duterte's good ties with the rebel movement.

"I can see the track record and good qualities of Duterte. He has been very cooperative with the revolutionary movement in ways beneficial to the people," said Sison.

Sison said he has not communicated with other presidential candidates this month but has met various emissaries since August 2015, "within the same parameters of peace negotiations that I have talked to Duterte."

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