By RAYMUND B. VILLANUEVA
Verbal attacks by government officials against Jose Maria Sison is sounding like the death knell on the peace talks under the Rodrigo Duterte regime, National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili said.
Agcaoili said that the orchestrated tirades against the NDFP chief political consultant by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, acting Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año and Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque are purely lies and attacks by “peace spoilers.”
Lorenzana, Año and Roque have repeatedly blamed Sison for the impasse on the peace negotiations between the NDFP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines after the prospective fifth round of formal talks has been cancelled for the fifth time last month.
“Let us not be lulled or hoodwinked by Sison’s glib tongue about reforms. They will institute reforms all right, but along communist lines when they have finally won,” Lorenzana said in a recent statement.
“In fact, they don’t even have to win because their socialistic CASER (Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms) , which they are trying to ram down our throats, will ensure that they will have a foothold in governance,” he added.
Año also accused Sison of being out of touch with what is happening in the Philippines while Roque in turn said the Communist Party of the Philippines founder is “arrogant”.
Agcaoili, however, said the GRP officials are falsely blaming the wrong person for the impasse, adding it is Duterte who should be blamed for the problems faced by the negotiations.
“Lorenzana, Año and Roque must have been in another planet when GRP President Duterte issued Proclamation 360 terminating the peace talks. That proclamation has never been rescinded impliedly or otherwise,” Agcaoili said.
“In fact, Duterte postponed the mutually agreed upon date for resumption of the formal talks on June 28-30, 2018, in Oslo, Norway, which would have been the occasion to remove the impediments put up by the GRP to move the peace negotiations forward,” he added.
‘Not even original’
Agcaoili also clarified it was the government that suggested a coalition government with the NDFP.
“For the record, the NDFP has never put forward any demand for a coalition government. This has been clarified several times by Prof. Jose Maria Sison to the GRP and the Third Party Facilitator, the Royal Norwegian Government, since October 2017,” he said.
Agcaoili said it was during the time of former President Benigno Aquino when former GRP chief negotiator Alex Padilla under orders by then Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Deles who raised the spectre of a coalition government.
Agcaoili added that it was also with the Aquino administration that the NDFP draft of CASER was originally described as “socialist”.