President Duterte met with representatives of the government and National Democratic Front (NDF) peace panels in Malacañang last Monday, in which he emphasized that he cannot agree to a coalition government with the communists.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III led the members of the government panel, while the NDF personalities were headed by former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo.
“I was talking to the NDF panel and we had the discussion about how to shape up a government without necessarily going into the complicated task of coalition because I don’t think it would work,” the President said in his remarks after the oathtaking of newly appointed officials at the Rizal Hall in Malacañang.
“And I said that maybe, what would come out of these talks in Oslo, I would insist that I retain the control of the military and the police, and they can have the mundane matters of government. As a matter of fact, nandiyan na sila,” he added.
The meeting took place despite the exchange of tirades between Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison after the communist rebels refused to reciprocate the government’s unilateral ceasefire.
Joining Bello in the meeting with the president was GPH panel member Angela Librado Trinidad, former Agrarian Reform secretary Hernani Braganza, and new GPH panel member Antonio Arellano, a retired regional state prosecutor in Region 11.
Ocampo, on the other hand, was joined by NDF panel member Fidel Agcaoili and NDF lawyer Edre Olalia.
Also present were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morante.
Bello said the President assured NDF lawyers present during the meeting that their consultants will fly to Oslo. He is scheduled to fly to the Middle East to attend to concerns of overseas Filipino workers there and will immediately proceed to Europe for the talks. (ELENA ABEN)