Duterte suspends peace talks with Reds

Dominic Menor, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 04 2017 10:58 PM | Updated as of Feb 05 2017 05:45 PM

MANILA (3rd UPDATE) - President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday suspended peace talks with the communists and urged its leaders involved in peace talks to come back to the country and surrender themselves.

"I will request the Philippine contingent tomorrow to fold their tents and come home. I am not ready to resume peace [talks]," he said as he visited his mother Soledad's tomb in Davao City on her death anniversary. 

"Peace with the communists might not come in this generation," he reiterated. 

Asked if he was scrapping the peace talks entirely, he said: "Yes, entirely... Do it after my term, if there is still one." 

"I tried everything, I walked the extra mile, released prisoners, released their leaders so they can go to Oslo [Norway] to talk, now they want 400 prisoners who fought the government under a rebellion released. That is only given after a successful talk. What is there to talk about kung i-release ko sila?" he said. 

However, when asked if his position on scrapping peace talks will no longer change for the rest of his 6-year term, Duterte said: "Yes, unless there is a compelling one. I do not know what would be that reason, but always, it could be in the interest of the nation."

He also told communist leaders and negotiators he released to return home and go back to prison. 

"They can retire all of them. For those who are released by the government, they should, on their own volition, return here and go back to prison or else I'll be forced to . . . I'm alerting the intelligence community to keep track of where they are now," Duterte said.

"'Yung na-release temporarily to talk with us in Oslo, they should come back and submit themselves to the jurisdiction of this government (where) they are still prisoners. Walang pardon, walang amnesty, wala lahat."

Duterte, who announced on Friday the end of the government's unilateral ceasefire, said communist leaders would be imprisoned without bail.

"They are all in the wanted list so I will alert the international police to arrest them where they are because they are wanted here. I'll cancel their passports," he said. 

"I don't know if they will be granted asylum there but with the rebellion, if you are just a member, it's not a grave offense maybe. Pero 'yung mga leaders, they should be in prison without bail"

"Kung gusto nila doon sa labas, OK lang. The most terrible thing that can happen to a Filipino is if you die outside your country."

Duterte vented his frustration over the recent deaths of several soldiers at the hands of the New People's Army (NPA). 

"They said they'll begin (lifting of ceasefire) on February 10. Ako, bakit February 10, namamatay na mga sundalo ko, pati pulis. Ang masakit diyan, lumalabas itong mga Army because they're not carrying arms. Pumunta sila ATM para makuha nila incentives sa combat pay. Why would you kill them?

"I told the soldiers to prepare for a long war."

In a text message Sunday, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the suspension of the peace talks is "deeply disappointing."

"This is deeply disappointing as final and lasting peace has been one of his deepest aspirations for the nation," Abella said.