MANILA - National Democratic Front (NDF) chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili confirmed Sunday that he and his colleague Luis Jalandoni will return to the Philippines this month despite the threat of possible arrest.
President Rodrigo Duterte said Saturday that Agcaoili and NDF senior adviser Jalandoni have requested to see him this November, but did not disclose why.
In a statement, Agcaoili said he and NDF panelist Coni Ledesma "have a scheduled a trip to the Philippines this month" in connection with their work in the Joint Monitoring Committee under an agreement with the government that seeks to preserve human rights during armed conflict.
Agcaoili said they "will be accompanied by Mr. Luis Jalandoni."
He said his group was also "invited to meet with the new Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines."
"In this regard, we welcome the the opportunity to meet with the President unless he does not want to or his military is against it," he said.
Duterte said he will announce whether or not the meeting will push through after he attends a gathering of regional and world leaders in Singapore next week.
Threats of arrest from the President himself have forced communist consultants like Agcaoili and Jalandoni to go into hiding, after peace talks between the government and NDF deteriorated last year due to alleged continuing rebel attacks on state troops.
A supposed resumption of the negotiations this year was halted.
Duterte had also moved to declare the NDF's armed wing and political arm terrorist organizations.