MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison can forget about returning to the Philippines, as peace talks between the government and the communist rebels collapsed.
“If Joma comes here, I will arrest him . . . Huwag na siyang bumalik dito. I will not allow him to enter his native land, and that is a painful experience,” Duterte said in a speech during the homecoming celebration of San Beda College of Law.
Sison, Duterte’s former professor, has been in exile in The Netherlands since 1987.
The president made this remark as he urged the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultants, who were earlier granted conditional release to participate in the peace talks, to surrender or face re-arrest.
He admitted he felt grumblings within the military following his decision to seek the temporary release of the NDFP consultants, including CPP leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon.
But he said he had to stop peace talks with the rebels because the latter has “done so much destruction to the country.”
Duterte had sought to end the nearly 50-year communist insurgency early in his term, even appointing leftists to his Cabinet as a demonstration of the two sides' warming ties.
“I said, well let it not be said I did not try to reach out to them, for after all, during the campaign, my promise to the people of the Philippines was that I would suppress corruption in government and I’m hell bent on doing it,” Duterte said in an earlier speech Friday at Camp Tecson in San Miguel, Bulacan.
Government officials and NDF negotiators had 4 rounds of talks in Europe, where Sison is based, before Duterte suspended the negotiations last May.
The talks, however, were stalled following armed clashes between government troops and communist guerrillas.
Duterte's anger against the communists was also reignited following the death of a 4-month-old girl who was hit by a stray bullet in a rebel ambush in Bukidnon earlier this month.
In his speech Friday, the president said one of the reasons he terminated talks with the communist rebels is the latter’s supposed goal to form a coalition government with his administration.
“I cannot give you what I don’t have and it is a portion of a sovereignty which nobody can own except the Filipino people,” he said.
He, nonetheless, lamented the collapse of the peace talks, saying “I’m the only one na pwede nilang kausapin at this time of the national life.”
SISON: DUTERTE MENTALLY UNFIT TO LEAD PH
Since the government’s decision to terminate peace talks with the communists, Sison has released several statements lamenting the decision.
In a statement released Friday, Sison explained how Duterte “sabotaged” the peace talks.
“Duterte spouted lies like the NDFP ignored the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) proposal for a stand down agreement prior to the adoption and implementation of the coordinated unilateral ceasefire. Showing gross ignorance of the peace process, he even referred to The Netherlands as the facilitator rather than the Royal Norwegian Government,” Duterte said.
“There are symptoms that Duterte is mentally unfit to handle the complexities of the affairs of his state and the peace process between the GRP and NDFP. GRP officials in his Cabinet and the reactionary armed forces should consider whether he is mentally fit for his office or needs to be replaced in accordance with their 1987 Constitution.”
In a previous statement, Sison called Duterte the “number one terrorist in the Philippines”, after the Chief Executive said he would declare the NPA, the CPP’s armed wing, as a terrorist group, and order the arrest of members of communist “legal fronts.”
“He is culpable for the abduction, torture and mass murder of an increasing large number of poor people suspected drug users and pushers, peasants and indigenous people in suspected guerrilla fronts and Moro people suspected of aiding the Dawlah Islamiyah from the time of the indiscriminate bombing of Marawi City to the present in several Bangsamoro areas,” Sison said.
“Duterte's bloodlust and mania for mass murder are boundless. He expects to wipe out through arbitrary arrests, torture, indefinite detention and massacre of suspected revolutionaries and legal social activists both the armed revolutionary movement and the legal democratic movement in order to set up a fascist dictatorship in the service of US imperialism and his fellow oligarchs among the big compradors, landlords and corrupt bureaucrats.”