MANILA - Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison may not be able to come home soon in light of the U.S. government's designation of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) as a terrorist organization.
In a press conference in Davao City, National Democratic Front (NDF) spokesperson Fidel Agcaoili said Wednesday that Sison's return from his exile in The Netherlands is "now a ticklish issue."
According to Agcaoili, there is no direct flight between Holland and Manila, so Sison could be arrested in transit points.
“The U.S. has again come up with a statement that they have put the CPP and the NPA in the terrorists list. That really poses a problem. Kung mag-spoiler itong U.S. through its control of the Interpol (International police), then, they might present a warrant of arrest against sa kanya in Taipei, so, everything is kaput,” he said.
Agcaoili said they would like to get a guarantee from the Dutch, Norwegian and U.S. governments that they would respect the sovereignty of the Philippines and allow Sison to come home and help in local peace talks.
Sison, who has been in exile since 1987, previously set his tentative return to the Philippines between June and August.
He also expressed the NDF's willingness to form and maintain a mutual interim ceasefire between the communist movement and the Philippine government after President-elect Rodrigo Duterte guaranteed the release of all political prisoners.
READ: Duterte to grant amnesty to political prisoners: NDF
Peace negotiators of the Philippine government and the NDF have also started preparing for preliminary talks in Oslo, Norway in the third week of June to agree on the agenda for the resumption of formal talks in July.
In a pre-recorded message during Wednesday's press conference, Sison said he was confident that the negotiating parties would come up with the comprehensive agreements faster under the administration of Duterte, who was his former student at the Lyceum University in the 1960s.
Negotiations to end Asia's longest running insurgency hit a snag in 2013 after incumbent President Benigno Aquino III rejected the communists' demand for the release of their jailed comrades.