Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria "Joma" Sison described President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday as a "cowardly gangster —a crazy guy in power."
Sison made the remark in an interview on ANC television where he also criticized Duterte's move to cancel the peace talks between Philippine government and the CPP, through the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
"Duterte is a brutal guy who likes to intimidate people and impress people that he is a strong man, he is capable of violence," Sison said, adding that, "This is a coward who has gotten to power and he doesn't know how to handle that power."
"He cannot handle it decently, and in a statesmanlike — You have a butangero in power for the first time in Philippine history, you have a wild guy, crazy guy in power," he added.
Earlier, Sison branded Duterte an impulsive leader who employed a "no read, no write" policy when it came to peace negotiations, as he supposedly refused to read extensive documents and write formally "except to make short, punitive declarations."
Sison then claimed that Duterte canceled peace talks to make communist groups a handy "scapegoat" in case he wished to take extreme measures to push through with his Charter change (Cha-cha) for federalism.
"The principal interest of Duterte in killing the peace negotiations is to use the names of the CPP and the NPA [New People's Army] as scapegoats in order to be able to declare martial law or a state of emergency as he would need it. He would need it before pushing Cha-cha," Sison said.
While the NDFP is open to carry out peace negotiations at any time, no feelers have supposedly been sent out for the resumption the talks.
"That is the responsibility of the one refusing. It is Duterte's responsibility that he has terminated or killed the peace negotiations, and he wants to kill the peace process since from its very start in 1992 with the Hague joint declaration," Sison said.
"He has some evil purpose, a malicious purpose in terminating [the talks]. The NDF would let him go down in Philippine history as the one who terminated the peace process," he added.
Resumption of the peace negotiations, Sison said, would only be possible if it is done under the Hague Joint Declaration of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and CPP, New People's Army (NPA), and the NDFP.
The 1992 declaration was the framework agreement for the peace talks between communist groups and the Philippine government, signed after a two-day negotiation in The Hague in The Netherlands.
After calling off the talks over supposed continued NPA atrocities, including extortion activities even while the negotiations were on, the Duterte administration insisted on localized talks.
Duterte terminated negotiations with communist rebels in November 2017 and declared the CPP-NPA a terrorist group a month after NDFP leaders claimed that the president sabotaged the peace talks.
In response, the government, through the Department of the Interior and Local Government, is poised to push for local negotiations with the Reds. —Rie Takumi/LBG, GMA News