Palace, Reds peace talks near fail?

Posted at 05/21/12 6:05 PM

MANILA, Philippines - There is no one to blame but the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front if peace talks with the government fails, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.

In a press conference in Malacanang, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said negotiations with the group have stalled because of demands that certain rebels be released even in the absence of a Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig) list.

“Yes, we believe so (that they can only blame themselves). As much as we try to push them into the negotiating table, they have insisted on the release of certain personnel which they claim to be their own in the absence of the Jasig list,” he said.

He said the government can’t just rely upon statements from the CPP-NDF and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, on “the number of people, the names of personnel that they want released.”

In a statement, NDF spokesman Fidel Agcaoili lambasted President Benigno Aquino III for alleging insincerity on its part and its chief political consultant, Jose Maria Sison, on the success of the peace talks.

"We have already received reliable information from Palace insiders that Aquino plans to terminate negotiations with the NDFP next year or earlier, especially if he succeeds in controlling the three branches of government and in making peace agreement with the MILF," said Agcaoili.

"We are not surprised that he (Aquino) has to attack our chief political consultant Prof. Sison who has tried hard to find ways of facilitating and accelerating the peace negotiations and instituting truce or long-term ceasefire on a mutually-acceptable basis," Agcaoili added.

He said it is Aquino himself who is violating the Jasig and exposed himself "as the hypocrite who pays lip service to peace but is in face obsessed with carrying out a brutal war under the US-integrated Oplan Bayanihan."