By: Delfin T. Mallari Jr. – @inquirerdotnet
Philippine Daily Inquirer » | 07:24 AM July 29, 2017
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison on Friday said he would return to the Philippines on his own terms and not on the dictates of President Duterte.
“If deemed necessary by the revolutionary movement, I will return to the Philippines to fight the Duterte puppet regime of US imperialism,” Sison said in online interviews.
“I choose the battlefield where I fight and the types of battles that I wage. These cannot be dictated [upon] by [Mr.] Duterte, who hopes vainly that the US and European intelligence would tip him off as soon as I leave The Netherlands for the Philippines,” he said.
On Thursday, the President called Sison a coward for living comfortably in Utrecht, The Netherlands, while communist rebels fought government troops in the Philippines.
Mr. Duterte dared Sison to return to the country and lead the communist insurgents.
Sison and his wife Juliet went into exile and settled in The Netherlands after the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution that ousted strongman President Ferdinand Marcos.
Sison dismissed Mr. Duterte’s statements, citing his active involvement with the New People’s Army (NPA), the CPP’s armed wing, during the Marcos dictatorship.
“I was an active part of the people’s war against the Marcos regime [from] 1969 to 1977, and then went to fascist prison for another nine years,” Sison said.
“I surpass the field record of many reactionary military officers who are in the field for a few years until they are assigned desk jobs and then retire at the age of 56,” said the 78-year-old Sison.
He reminded Mr. Duterte that they were both “well past the age of retirement” in the NPA and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Immediately after his election last year, Mr. Duterte had invited Sison to return to the Philippines and talk peace with the government.
In April, Mr. Duterte repeated his invitation to Sison to return home for medical treatment, which the President had volunteered to pay.
The President assured Sison that he would not be arrested and could live as a free man.
Sison, however, politely turned down the invitations.
Sison said Mr. Duterte’s position on the issue of his return was inconsistent.
“His inconsistency is getting more evident. The way he continues to talk, he really hates to engage in peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP),” Sison said.
He said Mr. Duterte should “try to be sober” and allow the government peace panel to do its job of forging peace agreements with NDFP.
Despite his word war with Mr. Duterte, Sison still believed that the peace negotiations would resume.
“Shouting war is irrelevant if we really aim to end the shooting war,” Sison said.