The Interior department on Monday condemned the ambush on the head of the Food and Drug Administration and her police escorts in Camarines Sur, saying such act showed the futility of negotiating peace with communist leader Jose Maria Sison.
“We condemn the killing of three police officers during the ambush of a PNP convoy escorting FDA Director General Nela Charade Puno,” Interior Officer in Charge Eduardo Año said in a statement. “This violent incident against government officials who are just doing their jobs is a pure act of terrorism that shows the futility of talking to Joma Sison.”
Año made his statement even as the Palace on Sunday dared Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Sison to “walk the talk” and back President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for peace.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the government had been dismayed in several occasions over the CPP’s opportunistic attacks amid the ongoing peace talks.
“We challenge Mr. Sison, as well as his forces on the ground, to walk the talk and support the President’s call for conciliation towards the nation’s quest for a just, sustainable and enduring peace in our motherland.”
Meanwhile, Duterte’s offer to give communist rebels their own houses and employment if they surrendered to the government should not be construed as a form of bribery, Malacañang said Sunday.
Panelo said Duterte “is not being less hostile, nor hostile for that matter” in his pronouncement during last Friday’s inauguration of the Gaisano Grand Citygate Mall in Davao City.
“We should not construe the President’s aspiration for peace as a form of bribery,” Panelo said in a statement.
On Thursday morning, Puno’s convoy, consisting of her vehicle and two police vehicles, was passing through Barangay Napolidan in Lupi, Camarines Sur, around 9:10 am when around 20 communist rebels opened fire, resulting in the death of three police security escorts and the wounding of three others.
Puno’s vehicle sped off as the assailants continuously shot the tailing police car.
“How can Joma expect to have meaningful peace negotiations when they are killing our police officers and ambushing government officials, including the FDA head who was just there to attend a government event?” Año said.
Año said Sison’s new offer to resume the peace talks was a clear attempt to ease the pressure on the NPA, which is losing the battle in the mountains to government forces.
“More than a thousand former rebels have since returned to the fold of the law and they are feeling the pressure. Peace talks are a way for them to regroup and strengthen their forces,” Año said.
He said Sison’s new offer was a futile attempt to divert the people’s attention from their foiled “Red October” plot to oust the Duterte administration.
“Sison wants to take the Filipino people for another ride. Now that their ‘Red October’ plot has fizzled out, now that they realize that there is no hope to oust this administration, they now suddenly want to go back to the negotiating table,” Año said. Nat Mariano with PNA
But he insisted there was no use talking peace if government forces and civilians were dying and if the rebel group continued to commit atrocities and terrorist acts like the Camarines Sur ambush.
“If Sison and his minions are truly sincere, the communist terrorist group should stop all forms of hostilities, extortion activities and the burning of construction or farm equipment and instead build mutual trust with the government to achieve genuine peace,” Año said.
“When you offer peace with your left hand but shoot with your right hand like what they did to our policemen in Camarines Sur, that’s the height of duplicity.” With PNA