Malacañang said on Thursday that it sees no hope that the peace talks would be resumed under the term of President Rodrigo Duterte, adding that the President does not need to issue an executive order to formally terminate peace negotiations with communist rebels.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte has already lost his patience with the rebels following the continuing rebellious acts committed by the New Peoples’ Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
“There’s no need. You know, the President opened his heart to peace talks. He has done many things; he appointed those even identified with the Left in the Cabinet. But what did they, these people in the left, do?” Panelo said in a Palace press briefing on Thursday.
The Palace official was referring to Duterte’s previous leftist appointees to his administration, including former National Anti-Poverty Commission head Liza Maza, Social Welfare secretary Judy Taguiwalo, Agrarian Reform secretary Rafael, Labor undersecretary Joel Maglunsod.
“While negotiating with us, they [CPP] have committed criminal acts, terrorist activities, burning properties, exacting revolutionary taxes. They don’t have the sincerity, that’s why the President already lost his patience,” he added.
Asked if there is no hope for the resumption of peace negotiations with the communists, the Palace said: “Most likely.”
He, however, said the peace talks with the leftist group could still happen if the President’ soft side prevails.
“Unless... You know the President is soft-hearted. But the President always considers the public. He always looks for the security of the nation,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Palace official also said the government supports the rejection of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to any suspension of military operations against the CPP-NPA amid the communist rebel’s offer of a holiday ceasefire.
“The Defense secretary is against it because, according to him, they have been using this ceasefire to celebrate yearly or anniversary, using it as an opportunity. We will not allow it this time,” he said.
According to Panelo, the country is ready for any disturbance that the CPP-NPA has been hiding as a trick in their sleeves following their celebration of the communist insurgents’ 50th anniversary.
“We are ready for that. The President doesn’t have to make any orders. There has been—all laws, the requisite of it have been placed even prior. Meaning to say, the defense is ready for any eventuality,” Panelo said.
On Tuesday, CPP founding chair Jose Ma. Sison bared that the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) negotiating panel had received a notice, saying it would order the NPA to observe a unilateral ceasefire.
The truce order, according to Sison, is to manifest solidarity with the Filipinos’ celebration of the Christmas season and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the CPP on Dec. 26.
The President, however, appeared to have grown impatient with the progress of peace negotiations with the communist rebels.
In his speech on Wednesday evening, Duterte said he is no longer ready to talk to Sison.
“I’m no longer ready to talk to you. I’ve done it before... You insult me, I insult you. We act like kids,” Duterte said.
“You know, if you want to transform this country, you have to do it by evolution. It cannot be a revolution,” he added.
In November 2017, the President signed Proclamation 360, putting an end to peace negotiations with the NDFP.
He ordered the decision following the frequent attacks by the communist rebels against the government’s armed forces and civilians while talks between the government and NDFP panels were ongoing in Oslo, Norway.