For Duterte and Joma Sison, no love lost

Jose Rodel Clapano - The Philippine Star
For Duterte and Joma Sison, no love lost
In an interview via Skype with One News’ “The Chiefs,” Sison said his relationship with Duterte turned sour in 2017 when the President reneged on his promise to release all political prisoners.

MANILA, Philippines — Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison disagrees with President Duterte’s likening the two of them  to “lovers” who are often at war.

In an interview via Skype with One News’ “The Chiefs,” Sison said his relationship with Duterte turned sour in 2017 when the President reneged on his promise to release all political prisoners.

“You know, it is Duterte himself who says despite our relationship and exchange of harsh words, one between two lovers, I don’t agree with that term. But, you know, only the closest of friends can talk harshly to each other and still continue to talk,” Sison said.

Sison recalled that during a Skype conference, he remembers himself and Duterte being “friendly to each other as leftist and socialist.”

“I will believe his promise, he would release all the political prisoners through amnesty. Then despite our misgivings, when he was already in power, when he assumed the presidency, our misgivings because of his backing out of his promise about the political prisoners,” he said.

Sison said they continue to try to settle their differences in peace negotiations.

“Up to sometime May, up to 2017 onwards, the relationship deteriorated. Practically, more than one year was wasted because of the termination declared by Duterte,” Sison said.

Sison said that in the two years Duterte has been president, the entire second year of his term was “wasted.”

“In the two years’ stay of Duterte in power, he wasted a whole year, the second year of his term. He did declare the termination three times. Now, he is going on the fourth time. But I hope the back-channellers have resolved the problem,” he said.

Sison said they will accept the explanation of the government peace panel that it needs more time to review the proposals.

“We are negotiating in good faith and we are trying to do our best because we have the interest of the Filipino people at heart and in mind. So, that is what we are doing…you cannot have peace between two warring parties if there is no moment of sobriety for peace negotiations and moments of dialogue in order to resolve the problems that are cause of the armed conflict,” he said.

Government peace panel member Hernani Braganza yesterday said the government has suspended all backchannel talks with the communist National Democratic Front (NDF) to allow a three-month review of all agreements related to the peace negotiations.

Among the agreements set to be reviewed included the Interim Peace Agreement (IPA), Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER) and the Comprehensive Agreement on Political and Constitutional Reforms.

‎Sison said their approval would signal his return to the country and a meeting with Duterte.

He said the delays in peace talks caused by Duterte’s decision to suspend the scheduled June 28 resumption of peace negotiations caused his uncertainty as to when he would return home.

Sison stressed he would not come home unless the agreements come into play.

“I will not visit the Philippines prematurely. What I mean is that the Interim Peace Agreement is signed and not before the Social and Economic Reforms is mutually approved at least by the negotiating panels. If I go to the Philippines prematurely, we will be putting at risk the peace negotiations no less. It’s not that I am concerned about the risks to my life. But I am concerned about the risks that are there that would impact the peace negotiations,” he said. - Jaime Laude





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