The Communist Party of the Philippines has proposed a meeting between CPP founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison and President Rodrigo Duterte in Hanoi, but the government has rejected the offer.
In a statement, Sison, also the chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front, said the original plan was for Duterte to attend
the ceremonial signing of an interim peace agreement in Oslo once both sides have firmed it up.
“But the government side backed out and offered Medialdea as the proxy of Duterte,” he said.
Sison said the NDF then offered Hanoi as an alternative venue to “facilitate the attendance” of the President.
“Hanoi as a venue near the Philippines was proposed by NDF in consideration of the heavy work sked of Duterte,” he said.
The government, however, “did not give a positive answer,” the communist leader said, noting that Norway, as third party facilitator, could not make any arrangement with Vietnam until a consensus had been reached by both negotiating panels.
Sison has rejected Duterte’s offer to hold the peace talks in the Philippines, saying there are security issues that have to be considered in making such a move.
“I have consistently declared that I will return home when substantial progress is already achieved in the peace negotiations and my comrades and lawyers are satisfied with the legal and security guarantees. By substantial progress, I mean the entire Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms has been mutually approved by the government and NDF principals,” he said.
“There are certain important considerations against my prematurely returning to the Philippines…I would be placing myself and the entire peace negotiations in the pocket of Duterte and at his mercy. Any peace spoiler or saboteur would be able to destroy the entire peace negotiations by simply abducting or harming any NDF panelist or consultant,” Sison added.
While Duterte promised that no harm would come to Sison if he returned to the Philippines, the President threatened to kill his former college professor if the peace talks failed to produce an agreement within the next two months.
“If we come to an agreement, that is good. But if not, I will escort him personally to the airport if the talks amount to nothing within the next two months. I will allow him to go out of the country. I will not arrest him because I gave my word on that,” Duterte said.
“But I will tell him, ‘You son of a whore. Do not return here or I will really kill you,” the President said.
Sison, however, shrugged off Duterte’s latest threat, saying the President had vowed to kill him one time too many that he now saw it as an expression of affection.
“Duterte has repeated so many times the threat to kill me that sometimes I surmise that the expression ‘kill’ has actually become a term of endearment, as in some American comedies,” Sison said.
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