Communist leader Jose Maria Sison has shrugged off President Duterte’s threat to kill him, saying it would be best for them to continue “preparing for the resumption of formal talks and make substantial progress as soon as possible”.
In a statement on the National Democratic Front of the Philippines website today (Friday, May 25), he wrote: “PRRD [the president] has repeated so many times the threat to kill me that sometimes I surmise that the expression ‘kill’ has actually become a term of endearment, as in some American comedies.
“I will not reply to PRRD in any hostile manner, unless he actually wrecks the work already done by the negotiating panels to prepare the resumption of formal peace talks. It seems to me that in using strong words he is eager to resume the peace negotiations rather than to block them,” he said.
Sison added that he had a “reason to be optimistic on the basis of the hard and productive work that the panels have already done in the form of back channel consultations, consensus building and bilateral drafting, unless the Duterte regime is once more backtracking”.
As we reported yesterday, during a speech in Davao City, the president threatened to kill Sison if the founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines decided to return to the Philippines and peace talks collapsed.
If nothing happened within a two-month deadline and if there were no clear understanding, the president said, he would personally escort Sison to the airport. “I will allow him to go out. I will not arrest him because word of honor ‘yan.”
Then, the president started to curse Sison, saying: “But I will really tell him: ‘Son of a b****, don’t you ever come back here again. I will really kill you’.”
Last month, the president invited Sison — his old college tutor — to return to the Philippines. Sison has been living in self-imposed exile in the The Netherlands since 1987.
The president also reopened the possibility of reviving peace negotiations with the communist rebels but on condition that they agree to a bilateral ceasefire, stop extortion activities, and not insist on being part of a coalition government.