Sara Duterte

Sara Duterte tells Marcos: Return to peace talks ‘an agreement with the devil’

Bonz Magsambol

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Sara Duterte tells Marcos: Return to peace talks ‘an agreement with the devil’

VICE PRESIDENT SARA DUTERTE. Vice President Sara Duterte delivers a message posted on her social media account on December 4, 2023.

Screengrab from video on Inday Sara Duterte Facebook page

'We appeal to your power to review these proclamations and agreements,' says Vice President Sara Duterte, in response to President Marcos' decision to restart peace talks with the NDFP and to grant amnesty to communist rebels

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Sara Duterte on Monday, December 4, urged President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to reconsider his decision to restart peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), likening the move to “an agreement with the devil.”

“Mr. President, the government’s statement with the NDFP in Oslo was an agreement with the devil. Napatunayan na natin sa kasaysayan na hindi sila seryoso at wala silang sinseridad sa usaping pangkapayapaan. Gagamitin nila itong peace negotiation sa pagtraydor sa pamahalaan at paglinlang sa taumbayan,” Duterte said in a video message posted on her Facebook page, as she publicly expressed her disagreement with the President’s policy.

(History has proven that they are not serious and have no sincerity when it comes to peace negotiations. They will use this peace negotiation to betray the government and fool the people.)

“We appeal to your power to review these proclamations and agreements,” Duterte added in her message on the occasion of the 5th founding anniversary of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), of which she is a co-vice chairperson.

She was referring to the recent amnesty proclamations of Marcos related to communist rebels – Proclamation 403 and Proclamation 404.

Duterte said that the issue is “deeply personal to me as it is deeply personal to the families of countless Filipinos whose lives were forever upended because of the madness of terrorists.”

“Nananawagan ang kanilang mga pamilya ng hustiya. Subalit, hindi ito makakamit kung bibigyan natin ang mga teroristang grupo ng amnestiya, sa pamamagitan ng Proclamations 403 at 404,” she said.

(The families of the victims are calling for justice. But, this will not be achieved if we we will grant amnesty to terrorists through proclamations 403 and 404.)

Under Proclamation No. 403, Marcos granted amnesty to members of the Rebolusyonaryong Partido Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/ Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP-RPA-ABB) “who have committed crimes punishable under the Revised Penal Code and special penal laws, specifically those committed crimes in pursuit of their political beliefs, whether punishable under the Revised Penal Code or special penal laws.”

Under Proclamation No. 404, amnesty is granted to former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) or their front organizations  who have committed crimes punishable under the RPC and Special Penal laws in furtherance of their political beliefs.

“Apo BBM, sana po ay isaalang-alang natin ang ating mga komunidad na naging pugad ng mga terorista sa mahabang panahon na ngayon ay lumalaban na at tumutulong sa pamahalaan (Apo BBM, hopefully we will consider the communists that were terrorist lairs for a long time are now fighting and cooperating with the government). Let us honor the memory of those who died in the senseless and bloody attacks of the NPA-CPP-NDFP,” Duterte said.

“Mr. President, we can negotiate for peace and reconciliation and pursue meaningful development efforts in the Philippines without capitulating to the enemies. Hiling namin na kami ay mapakinggan (Our wish is to be heard),” she added.

The amnesty grant to rebels fulfills Marcos’ promise in his second State of the Nation Address in July. He said then that this was to address the root cause of the armed conflict in the countryside, and that amnesty is needed to complete the reintegration process of these rebels.

Duterte echoed the position taken by her father who, as president, terminated peace negotiations with the NDFP over a year into his term. The Duterte administration had also sought to have hundreds of Leftist personalities officially declared as terrorists. – Rappler.com

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  1. ET

    An appreciation to President Marcos Jr. for having an open mind and heart to have a peace talk with the Communist rebels. Just let VP Sara (SWOH) be truly herself: “Like father, like daughter.” Just trying will not harm the Filipino People. If PBBM fails, then at least he tried; but if he succeeds – then this will be one the greatest achievements of his Presidency. I hope that Speaker Martin Romualdez agrees with him in this regard; in case he will do so, then it would be better to bring him along during the signing of the Peace Agreement (in case there will be one).

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.