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Palace twits ‘defeated’ Joma



Describing Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison as an illusory armchair rebel chieftain, Malacañang on Sunday urged him to just accept defeat and rejoin the society.

In a statement, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo chided Sison and called on him to explore another path for change other than armed struggle.

Panelo was reacting to an earlier statement by Sison who described as an insult conditions set by President Rodrigo Duterte before restarting peace negotiations between the government and the communist rebels.

“Instead of welcoming the President’s softening of his hardline stance on no peace talks with the local communists unless it puts a stop to their collection of revolutionary taxes which is a euphemism for extortion, he considers it as an insult to them,” Panelo said.

“The armchair illusory rebel chieftain must be running berserk with his imagination. No wonder his ground forces no longer follow him,” he added.

In a gathering of barangay officials in Legazpi, Albay last week, the President talked about the possibility of reopening the suspended peace talks with communist groups.

He, however, cited several conditions.

The armchair illusory rebel chieftain must be running berserk with his imagination.

One of them is for the New People’s Army, the CPP’s armed unit, to stop its collection of revolutionary taxes which Mr. Duterte said is a form of extortion.

Sison responded by calling the President’s remarks more of an “insult to the revolutionary movement than to express willingness to resume negotiations.”

Panelo, however, defended the Chief Executive by saying the “noble cause” started by Sison more than five decades ago has deprived the country of young, idealistic leaders.

“A handful of them managed to stay alive, and now, like Sison, are in the twilight of their lives, still hoping to overthrow the existing political order they failed to do for fifty-two years,” he said.

The official also stressed that the self-exiled communist leader must step down from his ivory tower and extend the olive branch “for peace, for his own sake, for the Filipino people, for his country he loves so well.”

“Filipinos cannot continue killing Filipinos,” Panelo expressed.

“To miss this golden opportunity will only reduce him to a historical footnote and thrown him into the dustbin of history. That will be tragic and such a waste,” he added.