Padilla out? Aquino abandoning peace process – Bayan
MANILA, Philippines – The Leftist group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) assailed President Benigno Aquino III for abandoning the peace talks with communist rebels, with the appointment of chief government negotiator Alexander Padilla to the state health insurance agency Philhealth.
Secretary-general Renato Reyes Jr said the President should explain how the government is going to pursue the peace process given this development.
It's not clear if Padilla will keep both posts but he told Rappler he is "frustrated and disappointed." He wants out of the peace process. (READ: Gov't peace panel head wants out)
"The appointment of Alex Padilla as Philhealth chief, concurrent with his role as peace negotiator, is the logical result of the Aquino regime's abandonment of the peace process," Reyes wrote on his Facebook page on Wednesday, June 19.
Bayan is identified with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). The government is negotiating with its political arm, the National Democratic Front (NDF).
"Since Padilla won't be doing much now that the Aquino government has closed the door to peace talks with the NDF, why not give him the post he always wanted?" Reyes added. He said Padilla has always eyed the Philhealth post.
Philhealth is critical in Aquino's universal healthcare program. The agency with get a bulk of the proceeds from the new sin tax law to implement Aquino's ambitious program.
Reyes said Aquino should explain how he wants to proceed with the peace process. "The so-called localized peace talks are doomed from the start since the NDF will not engage in these talks," he said.
"So anu plano ni Noynoy? Oplan Bayanihan pa rin?! (What is the plan of President Aquino? Will he continue Oplan Bayanihan?)," Reyes added.
Both the government and the NDF have issued strongly worded statements accusing each other of being insincere in pursuing the peace talks.
Government said it wants a "new approach" to the peace talks. NDF dismissed localized peace talks, saying it's government's way to divide the communist rebels.
NDF spokesperson also accused peace negotiator Ging Deles of sabotaging the talks.
Peace talks between the government and the NDF have been stalled since 2004. – Rappler.com