MANILA, Philippines – After scrapping peace talks, President Rodrigo Duterte again expressed his disappointment in the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), this time, calling its members "spoiled brats."
"Ito naman komunista, hindi ko gustong – they are spoiled brats. Akala mo sila 'yung nasa gobyerno kung mag-make ng demands," said Duterte on Monday, February 6, at the launch of the Presidential Security Group's vegetable garden program.
(These communists, I don't like – they are spoiled brats. You'd think they were in government, the way they make demands.)
Duterte made the statement amid pronouncements from the Left saying they are willing to revive peace talks with the government.
Over the weekend, the President said he will not allow peace talks during his term unless there is a "compelling reason" for him to do so.
Duterte repeated that he wants the released National Democratic Front (NDF) consultants to be arrested, both those abroad and those in the Philippines. The NDF is the CPP's negotiating arm.
"Once they arrive here, I have alerted everybody, even [the Bureau of] Immigration, they will be arrested and they should go back to prison," said the President.
About those who are not abroad, Duterte said in a chance interview during the event, "Then we will start to look for them and start to arrest them."
For Duterte, his release of the NDF consultants was a gesture of faith that was not reciprocated by the CPP, which demanded that he release 400 more political prisoners. (READ: Duterte: No peace with communists in our generation)
"I'm sorry. I am not about to talk to them again, because I released all of them. I released all the leaders to enable them to go to Oslo," said Duterte.
Former Ateneo School of Government Dean Antonio La Viña said the current situation may require a "grand gesture" from the CPP to change Duterte's mind. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.