Critics warn of âmilitarizationâ of OPAPP after Durezaâs resignation
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday announced that he had accepted the resignation of Jesus Dureza as his top peace official.
The STAR/Geremy Pintolo, File
Critics warn of ‘militarization’ of OPAPP after Dureza’s resignation
Gaea Katreena Cabico ( - November 28, 2018 - 11:22am

MANILA, Philippines — Communist Party of the Philippines founding chair Jose Maria Sison and former National Democratic Front peace consultant Satur Ocampo warned about the possibility of designating a military man to lead the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.

The two stressed this point after Jesus Dureza resigned as President Rodrigo Duterte’s top peace official.

In an interview on ANC’s “Headstart” Wednesday, Sison said that the resignation of Dureza may not affect the peace process “since there are many good people in the negotiating panel” such as Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello.

He, however, stressed that there will be problems if Duterte appoints a former military man to head OPAPP.

“We surmise that Duterte would like the military, like the outgoing [Armed Forces of the Philippines] chief of staff Carlito Galvez, to take over OPAPP and militarize it,” Sison, also the chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, said

He added: “The problem is when the military comes in, they impose conditions for the surrender of the New People’s Army.”

Last week, Galvez expressed interest to serve as consultant at the OPAPP. He is set to retire on December 12.

Ocampo, for his part, said that the possibility of appointing a former military officer “would not be good” for the possible resumption of peace negotiations.

“A peace negotiation where the military will have the last say is not going to result into any acceptable agreement,” the former Bayan Muna party-list representative said in a separate interview on ANC’s “Headstart.”

Duterte earlier admitted his preference to designate military men in his Cabinet, saying they get the job done.

The chief executive on Tuesday announced that he had accepted the resignation of Dureza. The sacking of undersecretary for support services Ronald Flores and Assistant Secretary Yeshter Donn Baccay prompted Dureza to resign as OPAPP head.

In a Facebook post, Dureza said he is taking full responsibility in the corruption at OPAPP.

“I am sad because despite my efforts to be compliant with your strong advocacy against corruption, I failed,” he said.

Sison called Dureza “a more reasonable person to talk to” than Duterte. 

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