MANILA - Communist leader Jose Maria Sison on Friday believes there was bad faith and vindictiveness in President Rodrigo Duterte's appointment of two leftists to his Cabinet, only for them to be rejected by lawmakers.
"It’s a well-known fact that Duterte has a supermajority, so-called, in Congress and the fact that he did not support his own appointees means he had bad faith in appointing those people," Sison told ANC's Early Edition.
"In the scheme of Duterte, he appointed 2 progressives just to decorate his Cabinet and it’s a very small number in relation to the majority of rightists and pro-imperialists, representatives of big compradors and landlords, supporters of open-pit mining—everything that is against the interest of the Filipino people," he said.
President Duterte earlier offered 4 Cabinet posts to nominees of the Communist Party of the Philippines as the government sought to broker a peace deal with leftist rebels.
Members of the Commission on Appointments, however, rejected the appointments of Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano, who were nominated by the CPP.
Sison said the two were nominated to their posts "as individuals who are patriotic, progressive (and) highly qualified" and not as representatives of the CPP, the Communist Party, the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front.
"But Duterte abandoned them. I think there was an element of vindictiveness on the part of Duterte and his supermajority in junking these good people," he said.
He said the appointment of former Gabriela party-list lawmaker Luzviminda Ilagan, another progressive, as social welfare undersecretary shows there are no representatives of the CPP to the government.
Sison said he told Duterte, a former student of his, that there will be no representative of the revolutionary force in the Cabinet while peace negotiations are ongoing.
"There has to be a peace agreement, comprehensive between the two sides; then it’s possible to talk about an alliance or coalition government. But in the meantime, I told him, no representative of the revolutionary forces," he said.
After the Makabayan bloc, a group of progressive lawmakers, left the supermajority in the House of Representatives, Sison also underscored that "has never been any alliance with the Duterte regime."
"There is an armed conflict, a civil war, between the NDF and the revolutionary forces it represents vis-à-vis the Duterte government and so it cannot be said that there has been an alliance with the Duterte regime," he said.
"All the way Duterte has been lying, breaking the promise he made as early as May 2016. He promised to release all the political prisoners through amnesty. He was lying," he added.
Sison decried that even when a unilateral ceasefire was declared by both sides, "the troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines were not withdrawn to barracks, but they continued to attack the New People’s Army and occupy communities."
"The bad faith belonged to the Duterte side, not to the NDF. If there were supposed breaches in the ceasefire arrangement, that could have been discussed, but Duterte would tell of the termination even before talking to his own negotiating panel," he said.