DAVAO CITY, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s henchmen were “singing a chorus of fantastic lies” to justify the declaration of a nationwide martial law by October, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said on Wednesday.
The CPP said the “recent propaganda blitzkrieg, orchestrated by Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana’s fraud-filled message in a vain attempt to discredit the Party and revolutionary forces, sow confusion and justify increasingly militarist and repressive measures against the people.”
CPP also dismissed as “a complete fabrication” Lorenzana’s claims that the Party has planned the “Oust Duterte Movement” to culminate by October.
These lies, it said, were just fronts to justify Duterte’s looming dictatorship.
“Duterte’s henchmen are hyping-up this lie prompting many to ask, whether Duterte is, in fact, planning to declare martial law or a general crackdown by October,” it added.
In a piece entitled “The Public Should Know,” Lorenzana has alleged that communists have crafted a three-year plan to advance the revolutionary movement, which includes planning the ouster of the President.
The CPP further slammed the Duterte regime for claiming that a “Church-Left” alliance was behind the supposed ouster plan.
“With Duterte’s tirades against the Church and religious beliefs having backfired, he is now accusing bishops and church leaders of conniving with ‘terrorists’ in the hope of casting aspersions against his critics,” it said.
The negotiations to end the decades-old leftist insurgency in the Philippines recently faced uncertainty anew as the government suspended the scheduled resumption of formal talks in Oslo, Norway from June 28 to 30, for three months to review its position and conduct consultations.
Having cancelled peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the Department of Justice (DOJ) is now “rushing its proscription petition against the CPP and the New People’s Army (NPA), which accuses activists, human rights advocates, indigenous people’s leaders and other political personalities of being leaders of the CPP and NPA,” said the CPP.
This petition aims to “strike fear against the growing anti-fascist movement and stifle the burgeoning workers’ strikes and protests,” the Party stressed.
“To tag legal activists and critics as terrorists is a desperate attempt to quell the masses’ growing dissent and discontent.”
The CPP also said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque was daydreaming when he said living conditions in the Philippines have improved and that many Filipino families have already escaped poverty.
“Roque is daydreaming. He is too snug and cloistered in his ivory tower in Malacañang that he cannot even bother to look outside the window and see how more and more workers and peasants are being impoverished,” the CPP said.
On Tuesday, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo said they will recommend to President the termination of peace talks, heeding Lorenzana’s recommendation.
Despite this, Arevalo said they would still support localized peace talks through local government units because they know best what is happening within their community
But the CPP reiterated that the “local peace talks” being promoted by Lorenzana would not prosper, and “only seek to obscure the ruthlessness and brutality of the all-out military offensives of the AFP.”
“All units of the NPA and committees of the CPP are united under the central leadership of the Party. The Party and NPA fully support the Negotiating Panel of the NDFP in its representation of all revolutionary forces in negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines,” said the CPP.
“Under Oplan Kapayapaan, the AFP is mounting all-out offensives and laying siege on hundreds of barrios, carrying out aerial bombardments and perpetrating extrajudicial killings ala Tokhang, and other grave abuses against the peasants, national minorities and other oppressed peoples,” it added.
On Thursday, Chief Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza said Duterte’s doors for resuming peace talks with the NDFP “are still open.”
Dureza said the doors for the resumption of peace talks with the NDFP are still open but subject to the so-called “wishes” of Duterte.
Among the conditions include the President’s rejection to the formation of a coalition government; the end of the collection of revolutionary tax; the venue of the talks will be local; and a ceasefire agreement should be instituted where members of the New People’s Army are encamped in designated areas.
“In the meantime, localized peace arrangements may be pursued by the local government units with the insurgents in their respective areas of responsibility,” Dureza added.
Dureza also pointed out that the conditions, which he termed as “way forward” was decided following the consolidation of various positions expressed in a command conference which the President convened on the evening of July 4 in Malacañang.
“The President also expressed his wish that Norway continues as a facilitator in the event peace talks is resumed,” he added.
But for the CPP, Duterte’s claim on the openness of the government to resume the peace talk is an outright lie and dubbed the pronouncement of Dureza as “a desperate PR stunt to obscure the fact that the GRP has repeatedly terminated the talks and make it appear that it is the NDFP which closed its doors.”
The CPP emphasized that Duterte has already terminated the peace negotiations when he issued Presidential Proclamation No. 360 last November 23, 2017.
The proclamation remains in effect until now as it has never been rescinded.
“Just a few weeks ago, Duterte also derailed efforts to resume talks by canceling its scheduled resumption,” the group said.
On the condition that the talks be held locally, the CPP said that such term is unacceptable and workable for the NDFP, “unless he thinks the NDFP will be negotiating only to surrender the Filipino people’s aspirations and give up all its revolutionary principles.”
The CPP also warned that Duterte, by completely shutting the door to the negotiations, “is laying down the conditions for imposing martial law or a general crackdown, use the terror proscription against the CPP and NPA against his critics and dissenters against his tyranny, and push charter change for pseudo-federalism to perpetuate himself in power.” (davaotoday.com)