Political detainees to join Aug 20 peace talks?

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 02 2016 10:54 AM

Jesus Dureza. File Photo

MANILA - The Cabinet of President Rodrigo Duterte is now working on how some political detainees can participate in the resumption of formal peace negotiations with the communist insurgency in Oslo, Norway on August 20.

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza said they want to ensure the Left is well represented during the peace talks. This is the reason why the talks were moved to August instead of middle of July, he said.

He said an interim negotiated ceasefire is one of the items on the agenda during the August 20 talks.

"There are efforts ongoing right now that we requested members of the Communist Party of the Philippines personnel who are needed in the forthcoming peace negotiations to be available for said negotiations. It is but fair that those who are needed by the other side be made available even though they are in jail," he said in an interview on [email protected]

"We have to go through a very tedious and legal process to make it happen."

"As much as we can, we would like them to be there but they should pass through judicial processes. It's now the judiciary who takes primary control on how it's gonna happen."

Dureza clarified it is still too early to talk about giving amnesty to the political prisoners.

"Amnesty is too premature...It can be at the endgame when the final peace agreement is forged," he said.

CEASEFIRE

CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison and National Democratic Front chief negotiator earlier welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of a unilateral ceasefire with the communist insurgency during his first State of the Nation Address last July 25.

Duterte declares unilateral ceasefire with Reds

Jalandoni told ABS-CBN News that he hoped the declaration would lead to the withdrawal of military troops in lumad communities, release of 22 political detainees and the grant of a general amnesty. The three issues were included in the June 15 Oslo agreement signed by government and CPP-NDF negotiators.

"The release of the political detainees is a small deal compared to the big deal," Sison added/

Pagpapalaya ng political prisoners, inaasahan ng CPP-NDF

Duterte, however, revoked the ceasefire after the insurgents failed to reciprocate his declaration at the end of a 24-hour deadline last Saturday, drawing harsh criticism from Sison.

Sison slams 'volatile' Duterte for scrapping ceasefire

For his part, Dureza said President Duterte already "went the extra mile" when he declared a ceasefire.