Baguilat hopeful Duterte will resume peace talks with Reds


Posted at Mar 27 2018 11:08 AM | Updated as of Dec 26 2018 03:56 PM

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MANILA - An opposition lawmaker said Tuesday he is hoping President Rodrigo Duterte would take the Holy Week break to think about resuming peace negotiations with communist rebels.

Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, who was among 60 lawmakers who signed an "appeal" to Duterte to continue the peace talks, said he believes communication lines between government and the left "have not really been cut off."

Baguilat said the President kept Cabinet officials who have been linked to the Maoist movement and that the chief executive and Jose Maria Sison, founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines, have a "personal connection."

Sison was among Duterte's former professors. 

"Mahal na araw, we’re contemplating about sacrifice and love for humanity, so I think the President, who has been known to make sudden decisions, may surprise us this Lenten season and say ‘Okay, I’m willing to sacrifice a little of my ego’," he told ANC's Headstart.

"Despite the acrimonious exchange between Joma and the President, maybe that’s just rhetoric and maybe at the end of the day they’d like to have that legacy of peace. It’s really between the President and Joma," he said.

Duterte, who freed some communist leaders and put leftists in his Cabinet earlier in his term to pursue peace talks, decided to halt negotiations in November citing rebel attacks on state troops. 

In December, he signed a proclamation declaring the movement a terror organization. The Department of Justice filed a petition in court in February seeking to formalize this citation.