Communist leader Jose Maria Sison on Sunday rejected anew President Rodrigo Duterte’s invitation to him to come to the Philippines for a one-on-one talk, calling the offer a “trap” and a “malicious scheme.”
Sison issued the statement after Duterte said in a television interview that the national government has created a peace panel that is ready for the possible revival of talks with the National Democratic Front, the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Sison said Duterte’s repeated offer was done in “bad faith,” claiming it was a “maneuver” and a ”bait” to prevent the resumption of peace talks.
“Knowing that I am experienced and intelligent enough to recognize what is a trap, Duterte is using his offer only to do a bit of psywar and to prevent the resumption of the peace negotiations,” Sison said in a statement.
“It is either a malicious scheme to put me in a lethal trap or an equally malicious maneuver to prevent peace negotiations upon rejection of his offer by me and the NDFP as an unacceptable precondition,” he added.
The CPP founding chairman also said President Duterte wants him to drop the legal protection that he has under the Refugee Convention and Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and to put himself “under the control and disposition of his butcher regime.”
Sison added that the President wants to preempt the “absolutely necessary formal meeting” in a neutral venue.
President Duterte terminated the peace talks in 2017 through Proclamation No. 360 following the successive offensives of rebels against the military and the police.
The President, however, floated the possibility of resuming peace talks last year but this has yet to come into fruition since the two cannot agree on the venue for their negotiations.
Duterte said Sison should come to Manila for a one-on-one talk, but the CPP leader has been insisting this should be done in a neutral venue.
President Duterte’s top security adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr, a former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief-of-staff, has also expressed disagreement to the resumption of talks, saying the government should focus on localized peace agreements instead.
Sison earlier sought the release of elderly and sick political prisoners on humanitarian reasons as a “goodwill measure” for the formal resumption of talks, adding that their freedom will “ensure success” of the meeting.