MANILA - Malacañang on Monday said a one-on-one meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Joma Sison is not a precondition to resume peace talks between the government and the rebels.
Duterte only wants the NPA to "humble themselves" first before entertaining the possibility of reopening the peace process, said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
"What he said was, kailangan munang magpakumbaba ng NPA and the possibility of a one-on-one meeting was proposed by the journalist and the President said, 'one-on-one pwede siguro'. But that is not a precondition for the resumption of peace talks," Roque said.
"Sabi kasi ng NPA talagang, matapos mataas ang tingin ng NPA sa kanilang mga sarili. Nandyan na rin ang usapin na gusto nila ng power sharing na imposible. So, he wants a general acknowledgement na the NPA are human beings, are Filipinos, and that they respect the sovereignty of the Philippines," he continued.
Roque maintained that the doors of the Palace are for now closed to peace talks with the NPA.
Duterte, a former student of Sison, has repeatedly slammed the lack of sincerity of the NPA for going on offensive attacks against the government despite ongoing peace talks.
In a recent interview with MindaNews, Duterte said he is open to meeting his former professor, which again ignited hopes of the possible resumption of talks.
"Gusto ko si Sison pumunta dito. Kaming dalawa mag-usap, kaming dalawa lang dito sa kwarto," he said.
In November, Duterte signed a proclamation ending the peace talks with the CPP and said he would consider the political arm of the rebels a "terrorist group." He also demanded that dozens of rebel leaders he freed last year in order to restart talks turn themselves in.
He also warned his former professor not to return to the Philippines or he will have him arrested.
“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.