Ever colorful yet acerbic with his choice of words and turn of phrases, President Rodrigo Duterte spoke volume of how little he thought of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison during a press conference Wednesday.

“You are not a man. You are nothing. You are spent. You are talking nonsense,” said Duterte in responding to Sison, who like a fishmonger’s wife, spread the fake news that he (Duterte) went into a coma days back.

“You will never win. I will guarantee you. When I see you in hell, I will slap you. Really, don’t expect to go to heaven,” the President added, his choice of the word “slap” showing the CPP leader not worthy of being punched like a man.

Sison indeed has made himself irrelevant within the communist organization and he has resorted to showbiz-like tirades against Duterte to resurrect whatever stature he thinks he has had.

But the President and Sison are not speaking at the same level. Duterte is the leader of about 105 million Filipinos and the Commander-in-Chief of thousands of soldiers and policemen, with weapons of war at his disposal.

Sison? His own people already treat him as a fool of an old man who blabbers nonsensically. Duterte knew this full well as he exposed his rift with the de facto rebel leaders in the Philippines, the Tiamzons.

The Chief Executive also tagged Sison as a freeloader who doesn’t pay anything and who may go to Belgium or Germany once The Netherlands finally decides to boot him out for overextending his welcome by decades.

If Sison finds himself a lonely man with no real effect on the outcome of the movement he led, it’s because he overplayed his cards when the President offered to talk peace with him.

First he said he’d love very much to go back to the Philippines which naturally renewed hopes that the communist insurgency may finally come to an end. But then Sison had to play coy.

Days later, the CPP leader insisted the peace talks should be in another country and that his visit to the Philippines would be just that — a visit, a vacation. Of course, the President saw red with Sison’s antics and promptly canceled the peace talks.

Government officials and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), meanwhile, started locally initiated peace talks with New People’s Army (NPA) fighters, leading to hundreds surrendering.

Among those who surrendered were two experts in making improvised explosive devices who said they were already tired of running and afraid of being killed in the face of relentless military operations.

They said they had already seen many of their former colleagues in the NPA having completed their return to the fold of the law, with full support coming from their former “enemies” in the military who ease them into normalcy with livelihood and other assistance.

But even as the AFP and the Philippine National Police, along with national and local government instrumentalities, welcome former NPA rebels, the President, during the same speech apparently held to debunk Sison’s claim he was comatose, showed the mail fist to those who will choose to fight on.

The carrot-and-stick approach may well work into making irrelevant not only Sison but the already spent movement he spearheaded. There’s no point talking to Sison as he has sunk to the level of a caricature.

By Concept News Central

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