The Executive branch has officially closed its doors to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines but the Senate may open “unofficial” doors to continue the long-winded peace talks with communist rebels.
“I defer to the judgment of the President, siya ang peace negotiator. Kasi sa point of view niya, hindi daw sinsero ’yung kausap niya. Pero kami sa Senado, pwede kaming maging tulay in the meantime,” Senate President Koko Pimente said.
“Huwag na munang tuluyang isara lahat ng pintuan. Magbukas pa tayo ng unofficial,” Pimentel said.
Pimentel said he cannot blame President Duterte for finally considering the CPP-NPA-NDF as terrorists and criminals for its continued attacks despite the ongoing peace talks.
He believes Duterte has exerted enough effort and even pursued a “different approach” in negotiating with the communist rebels.
But while the Senate has yet to establish the “bridge” between the government and the Left, Pimentel said his office is already open to talking with groups.
“Isa lang naman ’yung bansa natin, ang nag-aaway Filipino sa Filipino din. Eh constituents din naman naming lahat yan eh,” he said.
The Senate chief, however, said the CPP-NPA-NDFP should be committed in settling issues with the government in order to regain the President’s trust.
“Kasi kahit naman bukas ’yung pintuan for official peace talks, may attacks pa din. Dun nagagalit ang ating Pangulo,” he said. “So something must change.”
Pimentel dismissed claims of progressive groups that Duterte is being a dictator for cancelling the peace talks.
“Ang diktador kasi na tao, ’yung kung ano lang ’yung gusto niya. Pero kung may basehan naman at yung kondisyon ay nasa ilalam ng kangyang hurisdikson ay hindi po diktador yun. He’s just exercising his power,” he said.
Pimentel said oppositors may challenge the termination in courts should they find that Duterte committed grave abuse of discretion.
Duterte last week signed Proclamation No. 360 officially terminating the government’s peace talks with communists. (Vanne Elaine P. Terrazola)