Joma Sison rejects meeting Duterte in PH; prefers Oslo or Hanoi
Communist Party of the Philippine founder Jose Maria Sison said on Saturday that he was open to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte in Vietnan or Norway, but not in the Philippines.
In a statement, Sison declined the invitation of the President to return to the country for the revival of the formal peace talks, which Duterte terminated last year.
Instead, he said for his soonest possible interface with Duterte, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines has considered his meeting at the signing of the Interim Peace Agreement, packaging the ceasefire agreement, amnesty proclamation and the agrarian reform and rural development and national industrialization and economic development sections of Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms "either in Oslo or Hanoi."
Sison said he would only return to the Philippines when "substantial progress" is already achieved in the peace negotiations between the Duterte administration and the NDFP, and his comrades and lawyers are satisfied with the legal and security guarantees.
"By substantial progress, I mean the entire CASER has been mutually approved by the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) and NDFP principals," said Sison, also NDFP chief political consultant.
He also cited certain "important" consideration against his premature returning to the Philippines.
He said that going back to the Philippines for the peace talks would be going against the established mutual agreement to hold the peace negotiations in a foreign neutral venue in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration and Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees.
"Second, I would be placing myself and the entire peace negotiations in the pocket of Duterte and at his mercy," he said.
He also expressed concern about the possible spoilers in the peace process.
"Any peace spoiler or saboteur would be able to destroy the entire peace negotiations by simply abducting or harming any NDFP panelist or consultant," he added.
He noted that the original plan mutually agreed upon by the representatives of the government and the NDFP, the political wing of the CPP-New People's Army, in the back channel consultations was for Duterte to attend the Oslo ceremony for the signing of the Interim Peace Agreement.
But the government backed out and offered Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea as Duterte's proxy, Sison said.
"The NDFP has offered Hanoi as the alternative venue to facilitate the attendance of Duterte. But the GRP side did not give a positive answer and the RNG (Royal Norwegian Government) special envoy cannot make any arrangement with Hanoi," he said.
Norway is the third party facilitator in the peace talks between the Philippines and NDFP.
"Hanoi as a venue near the Philippines was proposed by NDFP in consideration of the heavy work sked (schedule) of Duterte," said Sison, who has been in asylum in the Netherlands for decades already. Celerina Monte/DMS