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Koko Pimentel wants peace talks with Left to resume

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III expressed hope on Monday for the resumption of peace negotiations between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

“Ang personal position ko nga, formally or informally, dapat tuloy (ang peace talks). Kapwa Filipino e bakit tayo nagpapatayan,” Pimentel told reporters when sought for his comments on the resolution signed by 61 congressmen urging President Rodrigo Duterte to resume the talks.

He said the Senate has no similar resolution yet but he will discuss it with Senator Loren Legarda as both of them are consultants of the government peace panel.

“Mas may weight (kung may Senate resolution) pero pag-usapan namin ni Sen. Legarda kasi kaming dalawa ay consultants ng government panel sa peace talks sa NDF,” he said.

He admitted that without the talks, the situation on the ground is complicated and unstable.

“Kung walang peace talks, talagang lines are drawn e, so anytime there could be attacks, there could be arrests, there could be killings, ‘yun ang effect n’un.  So ‘yung fear andun tataas, na anytime you could be attacked,” he said.

Asked if it will not be inconsistent with the earlier move of the Department of Justice which petitioned the court to declare the leaders of the communist group as terrorists, Pimentel said the pleading can be withdrawn anytime.

“Pwede namang i-withdraw o kahit na na-declare na na terrorist  puwede pa rin. I’m sure there is a pleading which can be filed to withdraw it,” he said.

The President terminated the peace talks on November 23, 2017, citing the continued atrocities committed by the communist rebels amid the peace meetings.

He had also issued a proclamation, tagging the rebel group as a terrorist organization. — Amita Legaspi/RSJ, GMA News