MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte is setting a "bad precedent" by having communist consultants in the country arrested after negotiations have been formally terminated, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chair Jose Maria Sison said Friday.
"This does not inspire confidence in engaging in peace negotiations. Duterte is setting a bad precedent," Sison told ANC's Early Edition a day after National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultant Vic Ladlad was arrested for illegal possession of firearms.
Sison said the Duterte government has been trying to "intimidate consultants" to force them to abandon negotiations.
"It's barbaric if one side would take a violent hostile attitude. This leaves no space for resumption of peace negotiations," he said.
Sison noted that "the New People's Army never threatened any of the negotiators and resource persons" from the government despite the repeated breakdown of talks under the Duterte administration.
Sison has been in exile in the Netherlands for three decades. Duterte had been egging the 79-year old communist leader to return to the Philippines to join talks.
Duterte had guaranteed that he will not have Sison arrested should they fail to forge a mutual agreement that would cease the decades-long communist movement in the Philippines.
"I will see to it and will personally maybe escort him to the airport if nothing happens in two months," the President said.
"I will allow him to go out. I will not arrest him because that’s word of honor," he said.