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Ecumenical bishops’ group to PNoy: may be time to replace Deles to nudge peace process
MANILA – President Benigno Aquino III should “seriously consider” replacing Teresita Quintos Deles as his chief peace adviser if he wants to have genuine peace among his legacies when his term ends in 2016. This was the unsolicited advice given Friday by a fellowship of bishops from various church groups.-
“President Aquino, we suggest, should seriously consider placing into OPAPP [Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process] people who will give him the proper advice to be able to leave a legacy of genuine and lasting peace to our beloved country and people,” the Ecumenical Bishops Forum said in a statement.
“When this happens, God’s dream for the people may come to pass: ‘My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting place’ (Isaiah 32:18),” added the statement signed by Bishop Elmer Borlongan, executive secretary of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP); and Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez; and Bishop Felixberto Calang of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI). The latter two are co-chairpersons of the EBF.
The group urged the President to rein in Deles, whom they described as the “problem” hindering the resumption of talks between the government and the leftist National Democratic Front (NDF).
The bishops’ statement came on the heels of the July 9 meeting between the communist leaders and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and three other House leaders in The Netherlands two weeks ago.
Belmonte described as a “confidence-building measure” his meeting with NDFP chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison and other leaders in Amsterdam.
Belmonte was accompanied by Majority Leader and Mandaluyong City Representative Neptali Gonzales II, appropriations committee chairman and Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, and accounts committee chairman and Romblon Rep. Eleandro Jesus Madriona.
“In spite of the feelers sent by top NDFP leaders on their willingness to resume the stalled peace talks soon, there is no feedback until now from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP). It appears that Sec. Teresita “Ging” Deles is not keen on reopening the talks,” the bishops said.
They said it was not yet late for the President to forge an agreement with the NDF.
“Lasting peace can be his legacy to the Filipino people. He still has more than 10 months to do that,” they added.