Sison: CPP ready to terminate ceasefire if political detainees are not
released by January
December 8, 2016/
Kodao’s Raymund Villanueva interviews National Democratic Front of the
Philippines chief political consultant Prof. Jose Maria Sison on President
Rodrigo Duterte’s promise to release all political prisoners, ceasefire,
peace talks, new AFP chief of staff Eduardo Año, and extra-judicial
killings connected to the so-called drug war.
Kodao: In a recent interview, you said the NDFP (National
Democratic Front of the Philippines) may work for a bilateral ceasefire as
long as the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) President
Rodrigo Duterte makes good on his promise to release all 434 political
prisoners within 48 hours after delivery to him of a signed copy by GRP
panel chair Silvestre Bello III and GRP panel member Angela Librado-Trinidad.
What is your explanation for advising the revolutionary movement may
accept Duterte’s challenge?
Prof. Jose Ma. Sison (JMS): I made the advice after reading a news
announcement that President Duterte would release all the political
prisoners within 48 hours after the GRP and NDFP panels sign a bilateral
ceasefire agreement. I asked NDFP chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili to
contact immediately his counterpart GRP chief negotiator Silvestre Bello
III whether the report is true and whether the GRP panel is willing to
meet the NDFP panel within the second half of December regarding the
bilateral ceasefire agreement.
Kodao: What should the NDFP and the revolutionary movement do with
the signed bilateral ceasefire if the GRP president fails to deliver on
JMS: The signing of the bilateral ceasefire agreement by the GRP
and NDFP panels can come ahead of the amnesty and release of all political
prisoners by President Duterte but said agreement becomes valid and
effective only upon the actual release of said political prisoners and
upon the approval of the agreement by the GRP and NDFP principals. No
chance for the GRP to get the bilateral ceasefire agreement and then
renege on the commitment to amnesty and release all political prisoners.
Kodao: How can Duterte affect such when his peace adviser (Sec.
Jesus Dureza) and the GRP panel have been saying the notoriously slow
judicial processes must be followed?
JMS: Indeed, the OPAPP (Office of the Presidential Adviser on the
Peace Process) is known to block the amnesty and release of the political
prisoners and is supposed to have advised Duterte accordingly. The GRP
side has the power to prolong the imprisonment of the political prisoners
and make them suffer needlessly an injustice in violation of the CARHRIHL
and the Hernandez political offense doctrine.
But the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines is
ready to terminate the August 28, 2016 unilateral declaration of interim
ceasefire in case no amnesty and release of all political prisoners would
occur in December or January. We shall be back to a situation of
negotiating while fighting, unless the GRP terminates the peace
Kodao: How long would such a bilateral ceasefire take effect?
JMS: If the bilateral ceasefire agreement shall be forged, it shall
be valid and effective indefinitely between the armed forces and units of
the GRP and NDFP.
Kodao: What are the conditions that would compel the NDFP to end
such a bilateral ceasefire?
JMS: The NDFP can end such a bilateral ceasefire agreement if the
GRP grossly and systematically violates it, loses interest in the
negotiations of the substantive agenda and is interested merely in using
the bilateral ceasefire as an instrument of capitulation and pacification
at the expense of the people and the revolutionary forces.
Kodao: Some regional commands of the NPA and the CPP are thinking
of terminating their existing unilateral ceasefire declaration because of
several documented cases of violations of the GRP’s unilateral ceasefire
declaration by its own armed forces. What would happen to such sentiments
and the people’s complaints of ceasefire violations if the NDFP would sign
a bilateral ceasefire with the GRP at this point?
JMS: The NDFP should not sign a bilateral ceasefire agreement that
does not address the violations made by the AFP, PNP, paramilitary forces
and death squads during the period of reciprocal unilateral ceasefires.
Provisions must be made for pre-empting and preventing the recurrence of
such violations. The military and police should be restricted to barracks
and should not usurp civilian functions. They should not be able to use
any pretext to commit atrocities against the people within the territory
of the people’s democratic government.
Kodao: President Duterte met with NDFP panel chair Fidel Agcaoili,
NDFP panel member Benito Tiamzon and consultants just last weekend, which
reportedly went well. Then a day before Duterte appointed Lt. Gen. Eduardo
Año as new AFP chief of staff, he issued his ultimatum. What do you think
would happen to a bilateral ceasefire when Duterte’s new chief of staff is
an alleged human rights violator and a “rebel hunter?”
JMS: In his candid moments, President Duterte himself admits that
the GRP is reactionary and rotten, serving US imperialism and controlled
by oligarchs, with civilian, military and police officals involved in
corruption and criminality, including illegal drugs. To make a good
bilateral ceasefire agreement and continue the peace negotiations with the
NDFP, Duterte must assume the responsibility of fixing the criminals and
self-contradictions in the GRP. He must know how to control his new AFP
chief of staff or replace him if he can. Otherwise, a just and lasting
peace will become impossible. And the armed revolution will continue.
Kodao: There has been more than five thousand killed under
Duterte’s so-called war on drugs in his five months in office. How should
the NDFP raise this issue under CARHRIHL during the formal peace talks? Is
it still beneficial for the revolutionary movement to engage in formal
talks with the Duterte government under which all these killings are
JMS: The extrajudicial killing of 5,800 suspects of being drug
pushers is a valid issue that can be discussed under the CARHRIHL,
especially because there are already many complaints that the military,
police and paramilitaries of the GRP are using Oplan Tokhang for the
purpose of smearing and murdering revolutionaries.
The CPP, NPA and NDFP have already pointed out that the anti-drug campaign
might be like Plan Columbia under which tens of thousands of
paramilitaries were organised not really to fight the drug traders but the
Kodao: It is being announced that the next round (third) of formal
talks would be on January 18-24 in Rome, Italy. What would be on the
agenda and how is the NDFP preparing for this?
JMS: The GRP and NDFP Panels will take up the condition of the
political prisoners and the unfulfilled promises to release them. There is
yet no basis to say that the matter of bilateral ceasefire agreement will
be taken up before or during the third round of peace talks. I expect that
the negotiations of the CASER (Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic
Reforms) by the RWCs (Reciprocal Working Committees) concerned will make
some significant advance to show that the peace process is really moving
ahead. CASER is the meat of the entire peace negotiations. It offers the
prospects of national industrialization, genuine land reform, improved
incomes and means of livelihood and expansion of social services.
Kodao: Why should the Filipino people support the continuation of
the peace process?
JMS: The Filipino people support the continuation of the peace
negotiations because they wish substantial social, economic and political
reforms to be achieved across the negotiating table. However, if they are
frustrated in this regard, they will also be able to see more clearly the
justness and necessity of the people’s democratic revolution through
people’s war. After all, the crisis of global capitalism and the domestic
ruling system continues to worsen and cry out for revolution.
(Interview and Sison photo by Raymund B. Villanueva/Duterte photo by Davao