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Duterte wants one-on-one talk with Joma, says Panelo

President Rodrigo Duterte has dared Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Maria Sison to come home and have a one-on-one talk with him, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Thursday.

“May I just say that the President is daring him to come home to the Philippines and have a one-on-one talk with the President even before this panel—no government panel involved, no panel on the communist side,” Panelo said in a press briefing.

Panelo assured Sison that he will not be arrested. The presidential spokesperson’s remarks came as the CPP observed its 51st founding anniversary.

“He is asking him to come to the Philippines, there will be no enforcement of any warrant, just come to the Philippines and talk with him,” he said, adding that Duterte set no condition before the talk.

“Wala siyang sinabing condition. Basta sinabi niya, ‘I want to talk to him, one-on-one here’,” he said.

Duterte also did not set a timeline.

“Whether it’s soon as possible, basta ‘yan ang posisyon ng Presidente – ‘You come over and let’s talk’,” said Panelo.

He said Duterte wanted an explanation on the ceasefire violations allegedly committed by the New People’s Army.

“We condemn of course the violations of the ceasefire agreement. You must remember that it was them (CPP) who declared a unilateral ceasefire and that has also been violated, that there has been a violation,” he said.

“But nevertheless, we are giving them the chance to explain why it has committed such violation. And since the President has always been open, giving a little window to the pursuit of peace, he will wait for the explanation coming from them,” he added.

Panelo said Duterte mentioned his intention to talk with Duterte on December 24 when they were talking about the ceasefire and the Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s stand to exclude Davao in the peace talks.

“With respect to the ceasefire. We were talking about the ceasefire, about the localized negotiation and about the stand of the Mayor of Davao. He said the localized peace talks can still proceed,” he said.

He said the President has already directed concerned officials to investigate the alleged attacks by the NPA during the ceasefire.

The government and the Communist Party of the Philippines declared ceasefire on Sunday for the holiday season and to create an enabling environment for the possible resumption of peace talks. It will last until January 7.

On Monday, hours after the ceasefire declaration, a platoon of soldiers pulling out from the field was fired upon by alleged armed communists in Barangay Baay, Labo town in Camarines Norte.

The attackers reportedly shot at and lobbed an alleged improvised explosive device at the government troops, killing one soldier and injuring six others.

Meanwhile, in Tubungan, Iloilo, state security forces onboard a patrol vehicle were also ambushed by suspected communist rebels. Two cops were injured in this attack.

The police officers were also pulling out from the area, pursuant to the unilateral and reciprocal ceasefire, when a landmine was detonated in Barangay Singon. — RSJ, GMA News