Duterte: 'If Joma Sison comes here, I will arrest him'

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday, November 24, warned that Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison will be arrested if he comes back to the Philippines.

"If Joma Sison comes here, I will arrest him, or if I were him, 'wag na siyang bumalik dito (he should not return anymore)," Duterte said in a speech at the San Beda College of Law's annual alumni homecoming.

"Better still, I will not allow him to enter his native land, and that is a very painful experience especially if you're dying and you think that you should be buried in your own cemetery, in your own town," he added.

Since 1987, Sison has lived in The Netherlands where he sought political asylum. 

Sison is Duterte's former professor.

The President's statement comes two days after he signed Proclamation 360, formally terminating the government's peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front-Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (NDF-CPP-NPA).

'You are terrorists or criminals'

Even before canceling the peace talks, Duterte had already tagged communist rebels as "terrorists." In his statement, Sison shot back, saying Duterte is the "No. 1 terrorist in the Philippines."

Duterte had also said he would order the arrest not only of armed communist rebels, but also of all members of "legal fronts" helping the Left.

"You are terrorists or criminals," Duterte said again in his speech on Friday. "I will treat you and I will not charge you for rebellion because I am saying to you now, I will brand you as terrorists, plain criminal."

Earlier on Friday, Duterte already called on NDF consultants who were released temporarily for the peace negotiations to "surrender."

Later, in his speech before his fellow San Beda alumni, he said he "conceded too much too soon."

"I released about 32 of them, political leaders, ideological leaders. I released them to show good faith and the confidence building period which is really very necessary in talking to them and to the enemies of the state," Duterte said in a mix of English and Filipino.

He added: "So now, I will come up with another. That was a proclamation ending the talks. Now, how I would deal with them is something like this. I will treat them as terrorists. And I will charge them for the crimes that they actually committed." – Rappler.com

Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.

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