Joma not in position to impose talk conditions: Palace
By Jelly Musico
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — Malacanang on Monday said Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria ‘Joma’ Sison is not in a position to set terms before returning to the country.
“I don’t know if he is in a position to provide for conditions,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing.
Over the weekend, President Rodrigo Duterte prodded Sison to come home, giving a 60-day time frame for peace negotiations.
Duterte has even said he will pay for Sison’s airfare, billeting and food and would allow the communist leader to set up camp where they can talk “minus arms”.
In response, Sison said he will “certainly return when a significant advance in the peace negotiations has been achieved within the framework of The Hague Joint Declaration”.
The communist leader also wanted an assurance that his comrades and lawyers are satisfied with legal and security precautions.
“What the President said was if peace talks will resume, he is welcome to come home. The President will assure his security and the fact that he will not be arrested. Beyond that, the President has not acceded to any further terms,” Roque explained.
He, however, said Sison’s new condition “will have to be discussed” by the government.
Roque clarified that the 60-day “window” will commence “as soon as both sides have clearly agreed to resume peace talks”.