MANILA, Aug 17 (Mabuhay) – Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison on Wednesday thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for the release of a National Democratic Front of the Philippines consultant in time for the peace talks in Oslo, Norway starting August 20.
“Once more I am grateful to President Duterte for his acts of goodwill to move forward the peace negotiations between his government and the NDFP,” he said in a statement on Wednesday, noting that they are still friends despite their recent “word war.”
“He has made possible the release of the JASIG (Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees)-protected NDFP consultants from prison and has graciously met the NDFP lawyers and consultants together with his negotiators and other officials,” Sison added.
Sison, who will sit as the political adviser of the NDF in Oslo, has put the word war with Duterte to rest by citing the foundation of their friendship.
“Despite a previous glitch in our communications, President Duterte and I remain good friends. Our friendship has a strong basis in longstanding cooperation and in a common desire to serve the national and democratic rights and best interests of the Filipino people. Furthermore, we have plenty of mutual friends who help maintain our friendship,” he said.
Sison and Duterte traded harsh words after the chief executive lifted the unilateral ceasefire he earlier declared when New People’s Army guerrillas killed a militiaman in an attack in Davao del Norte, just a day after the government-initiated truce took effect.
Duterte asked the CPP-NPA-NDF to explain the ambush and reciprocate the ceasefire within a given deadline. But the communists failed to do so.
NDF co-founder Satur Ocampo in a phone interview with GMA News Online said that Duterte told him about forgetting the harsh words with Sison as he remained committed to pursue peace with the communists.
“During the formal talks in Oslo, President Duterte and I shall be in touch with each other. We intend to perform our respective parts in order to make the talks successful and beneficial to our people,” Sison said in his statement issued after the release of NDF’s Ruben Saluta from Camp Bagong Diwa early Wednesday morning.
Four other NDF consultants expected to be released are:
Alan Jazmines -arrested February 2011 for rebellion and murder
Tirso Alcantara – arrested in January 2011 for 23 warrants of arrest for murder
Ernesto Lorenzo – arrested in July 2015 for destructive arson
Renante Gamara – arrested in April 2012 for murder
On the other hand, Ocampo said Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, who is also the government’s chief peace negotiator, told him that Duterte is committed to ensure detained NDF consultants will join the formal resumption of peace talks in Oslo.(MNS)