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Duterte: ‘If Joma returns, he will be arrested’

At the start of Philippine peace negotiations hosted by Norway government, Monday Aug. 22, 2016, in Oslo, Norway, with Jose Maria Sison of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, left, and Philippine peace minister Jesus Dureza, as government officials and rebels participate in the peace negotiations. Berit Roald / NTB scanpix via AP, File

MANILA, Philippines — Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Ma. “Joma” Sison would be arrested if he returns to the country, President Duterte said yesterday, as he accused leftist rebels of causing much destruction to the country. 

“If Joma Sison comes here, I will arrest him, or if I were him, huwag na siyang bumalik dito (he should not return here),” Duterte said during the alumni homecoming of San Beda law graduates in Makati. “I will not allow him to enter his native land and that is a very painful experience especially if you’re dying and you think you should be buried in your own cemetery, in your own town.”

Duterte made the statement after Sison called him the “No.1 terrorist in the Philippines.” The exchange comes after the President signed a proclamation terminating the peace talks between the government and the CPP-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

Sison has been residing in the Netherlands as a political refugee since 1987.

Duterte made the statement a day after he signed a proclamation terminating the peace talks between the government and the CPP-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

He said he could no longer talk to the rebels because of their attacks against innocent civilians and their efforts to forge a coalition government. 

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“Even if you talk for a thousand years, we can never reconcile our values,” Duterte said. “I have conceded many and too much soon.”

Duterte accused the communists of destroying the country and the youth, an allegation he hurls at politicians involved in illegal drugs. 

“There is always time. There’s always a time to destroy and to repair. And they have done so much destruction to the country,” he said.

Duterte also ordered the security forces to arrest communist leaders who were released from prison to join the negotiations in Norway. 

‘Top terrorist’

In a statement posted on the website of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), Sison branded Duterte as the country’s No.1 terrorist for reportedly sabotaging the peace talks and calling the rebel group a terror organization.

Sison lamented Duterte’s almost daily rant against the CPP and the NPA “in connection with recent incidents in the armed conflict.”  Duterte accused the rebels of provoking him with their recent attacks on government and civilian targets.

Sison lamented that before Duterte’s diatribe, the government and the rebel negotiating panels had already spent several months of hard work in unilateral and bilateral meetings and were “ready to do a little polishing of common drafts” on Nov. 22 and 23 in Utretch for finalization in the slated fifth round of formal talks in Oslo, Norway on Nov. 25 to 27.

“The GRP AND NDFP negotiating panels were so happy and confident that they would be able to initial the CASER and the agreements on the general amnesty and release of all political prisoners and the coordinated unilateral ceasefires at the closing session of the fifth round of formal talks and formally sign all these at the closing ceremony of the sixth round in January 2018,” Sison said.

CASER stands for Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms.

In his rants, Duterte “unwittingly exposed his scarce, shallow and defective knowledge of the peace process,” Sison said.

He scored the President for citing recent hostilities between troopers and guerillas as “false basis for slandering the revolutionary forces and threatening the termination of the peace negotiations and the outlawing of the revolutionary forces and legal democratic forces as terrorists.

“In the absence of ceasefire between the GRP and NDFP, he (Duterte) through his negotiating panel should have submitted his complaints to the joint monitoring committee under CARHRIHL,” Sison said, referring to the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

“He (Duterte) violated the mutual agreement that talks would be discreet until there would be good news to announce at the end of the fifth or sixth round of formal talks,” Sison said.

The CPP leader said the NDFP has always submitted to the Joint Monitoring Committee its complaints against abuses and provocative acts by security forces committed in the name of Oplan Kpayapaan and martial law in Mindanao.

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