Communist leader Jose Maria Sison will not be arrested if he agrees to resume the peace talks with the government in the country, Malacañang said yesterday.
According to presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo, the government is prepared to suspend any pending arrest warrant against Sison and other local communist group officials who will take part in the peace negotiations.
“Kung matapat sila kahit saan lugar papayag sila. Hindi naman siya aarestuhin, ‘yan naman ang pinapangako ni Presidente. Suspendido naman lahat ng mga pending warrant of arrest laban sa kanila kung may pag-uusap,” Panelo said.
“Kahit na saang lugar, kung talagang matapat ka papasok ka sa usapan. Di bale na ‘yung lugar. Ang mahalaga ‘yung katapatan ng bawat panig na mag-sap sa kapayapaan,” he added.
The President had earlier directed Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello to return to the Netherlands and talk to Sison on the possible revival of the peace talks. Duterte said this would be his “last card” to jumpstart the peace negotiations with the communist rebels since he has less than three years left in office.
The government peace panel chaired by Bello was dismantled last March after the peace talks with the communist rebels were terminated in November 2017.
Bello, in a recent television interview, said the President wanted the peace talks to be held in the country and would guarantee the safety of Sison if he comes home. Sison, founding chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines, is living in exile in the Netherlands.
Sison, however, rejected the proposal to hold the peace talks in the Philippines, saying this was “totally unacceptable.”
In a statement, he was concerned that such scenario would place the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and entire peace negotiations “in the pocket of the Duterte regime and under the control and surveillance of the bloodthirsty military and police who engage in mass murders and other heinous crimes with impunity.” (Genalyn Kabiling)