MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he will order the “mass arrest” of National Democratic Front (NDF) consultants who were released temporarily to participate in the peace talks.
“For those who are out temporarily, you just maybe zero in now, because any day, I will order for their mass arrest. Wala akong magawa eh. Ginusto ninyo, I'm addressing them [via] TV, ginusto ninyo eh,” Duterte said in a speech during the oath-taking of newly-appointed generals and flag officers in Malacañang.
Duterte's announcement came after the collapse of peace talks between the government and the NDF, and his decision to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army as terrorist organizations.
Some 20 NDF consultants, including CPP leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, were granted conditional release so they could participate in the peace talks, which were revived when Duterte, a self-proclaimed socialist, came to power.
Duterte, a former student of Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Maria Sison, 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.
Government officials and NDF negotiators had 4 rounds of talks in Europe, where Sison is based, before Duterte suspended the negotiations last May.