DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairperson Jose Maria Sison shrugged off President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat to kill him if peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) fail.
Sison, in a statement released on Friday, made light of Duterte’s threat by likening it to some American comedies and assumed the expression “kill” has become a term of endearment.
“I will not reply to PRRD in any hostile manner, unless he actually wrecks the work already done by the negotiating panels to prepare the resumption of formal peace talks,” said the 79-year-old Sison.
In a speech during the inauguration of Davao River Bridge widening project on Thursday, May 24, President Duterte reiterated his intention to invite his former professor who went into exile in the Netherlands to come back.
“I have invited Sison to come home. He has agreed. I gave him a window of two months, very small. Make or break tayo dito. Magkasinabot ta, maayo. Og dili (If we are able to understand each other, good. But if not), I will see to it and will personally maybe escort him to the airport,” said Duterte.
Last month, Duterte has set a 60-day deadline for the government and the NDFP peace panels to return to the negotiating table, saying “We’re good or we break off.”
“‘Pag walang nangyari sa two months (If nothing significant happens in two months,” Duterte added, “I will allow him [Sison] to go out. I will not arrest him because word of honor ‘yan eh.”
However, the President also explicitly said he would kill Sison if the peace talks fail.
“But sabihin ko talaga sa kanya, “p***** i** mo ‘wag ka nang bumalik dito. Papatayin talaga kita.” ‘Pag walang mangyari, sabihin ko talaga sa kanya, “do not ever, ever return again to this country. I will kill you,” Duterte added.
Duterte said many of his troops have been killed in the course of the civil war with the communists.
Sison believed that Duterte is “eager” to resume “rather than blocking” the peace talks by his use of strong words.
“It is best that PRRD and I allow and encourage the GRP and NDFP Negotiating Panels to continue preparing for the resumption of formal talks and make substantial progress as soon as possible,” he added.
Sison maintained he is optimistic with the progress of the peace talks citing “back channel consultations, consensus building and bilateral drafting” is underway between the two panels.
“Unless the Duterte regime is once more backtracking,” Sison added.
Earlier this month, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) confirmed that informal back-channel talks with the NDFP has started in a bid to resume to the negotiating table.
The CPP then called on the government side to be “more circumspect” in issuing public statement on the developments of the informal talks “so not to preempt the outcome.”
It reminded the public and the media to wait for official statements regarding the outcome of the back-channel talks between the two parties. (davaotoday.com)