Jose Maria Sison, a former Social Science and English professor, founded the Communist Party of the Philippines on Dec. 26, 1968.

AP/Peter Dejong, file
Palace: No confirmation on Joma Sison's return to Philippines
( - June 20, 2018 - 6:21pm

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has yet to confirm that Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Maria "Joma" Sison will return to the Philippines in August. 

Earlier reports quoted National Democratic Front of the Philippines consultant Rey Casambre as saying that Sison, who has been on self-exile in the Netherlands since 1987, has agreed to come home in August. The NDFP represents the communists in the peace negotiations with the government. 

Sison is expected to return to the country in the second week of August, the reports said. The reports surfaced despite the NDFP's rejection of the government's proposal to resume the peace talks in the Philippines. 

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the information about Sison's alleged plan to come home remains unverified. 

READ: Joma Sison returning in August for peace talks

"We have not confirmed that. But President [Rodrigo] Duterte has repeatedly said the talks should be held here in the Philippines and he has invited Joma Sison to come here. He will provide Joma Sison security and he will shoulder the logistics and other needs of those who will join the talks," Roque told radio station dzMM 
on Wednesday. 

"If nothing happens in the talks, he will bring Joma Sison to the airport so he can leave the country," he added. 

Sison, in an online exchange, said that he would be going to the Philippines in August had previous plans and timelines been followed.

He said the NDFP had hoped to sign an interim peace agreement in Oslo in late June, with negotiations on the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-economic Reforms done within the next two months.

Among the proposals in the draft CASER are agrarian reform and land distribution as well as the development of the agricultural sector for food self-sufficiency. It also proposes the nationalization of utilities and of the mining industry.

"But Duterte derailed the schedule by cancelling the resumption of formal talks on June 28-30," Sison said in Filipino.

CPP: Peace talks in Philippines unacceptable

The Communist Party of the Philippines, from which the NDFP takes its cues, has rejected the proposal to hold peace talks in the Philippines.

"It is like the NDFP insisting that peace talks be  held in the territories under the political authority of the revolutionary forces — something that Duterte will definitely not accept," it said in a statement on Wednesday.

It said that the government's decision to hold talks in the Philippines contradicts the Hague Declaration of 1992, where parties agreed that peace talks would be done without any precondtions.   

Roque said presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza is in Norway to discuss the peace talks with Norwegian officials even if the negotiations slated for this month have been postponed. Norway serves as the third party facilitator for the peace talks. 

Last month, Sison said he was willing to return to the Philippines "at the proper time." The communist leader told ABS-CBN News he was optimistic that he could come home this year. 

President Duterte previously rescheduled the negotiations scheduled for June 28, citing the need to review the agreement to be signed by the government and the communists. — Alexis Romero, Job Manahan

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