ONLINE INTERVIEW WITH PROF. JOSE MARIA SISON REGARDING GRP-NDFP PEACE NEGOTIATIONS
By Delfin T. Mallari
Philippine Daily Inquirer,
October 18, 2018
1. Given the quality of the candidates for the Lower House and the Senate, can you expect their support for the resumption of the peace talks?
JMS: If you ask the candidates for the Lower House and the Senate, I am sure that almost all of them will be in-favor of the peace negotiations. Those who are reactionary and less intelligent will precondition the talks with the surrender of the NPA and the more intelligent or progressive ones will say that the talks must address the roots of the armed conflict and lead to comprehensive agreements to lay the basis for a just and lasting peace.
2. Will you ask the candidates to declare their position on the peace talks as the people’s basis for electing them?
JMS: Yes, definitely, we in the NDFP will certainly appreciate the candidates who support the resumption of the peace negotiations in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration in order to arrive at the needed agreements on social, economic and political reforms and lay the foundation for a just and durable peace under the guiding principles of national sovereignty, democracy and social justice. Thus the people will know who among the candidates are for just peace.
3. Aside from the Congress and the Senate, which other institutions may have influence in getting the talks to resume?
JMS: The executive branch of GRP and no less than the president are crucial in agreeing or not to resume the peace negotiations. In the first place, it was Duterte who terminated the peace negotiations. Outside of the government, there are institutions, like the political parties, mass organizations, professional an civic organizations, and the churches that are interested in a just and lasting peace in the country.
4. But first of all, on the basis of your analysis, is there still a chance for the peace talks to reopen in Duterte’s time?
JMS: The NDFP is always open to peace negotiations. We can negotiate peace only with the party with which we are at war. It is up to Duterte to decide whether he is interested in peace negotiations. He is the one who terminated the peace negotiations with his Proclamation 360 as of November 23, 2017.
By all indications and by his own pronouncements and actions, he does not want peace negotiations for a vile purpose: so that he can easily blame the CPP and the NPA for the armed conflict and use this as basis for declaring martial law nationwide in order to ram through his chacha for federalism, actually a fascist dictatorship with all powers concentrated in his hands.
However, it is also possible that upon the further deterioration of his health and/or the failure of his all-out war campaign to destroy the revolutionary movement, Duterte would seriously consider negotiating again with the NDFP either to leave a legacy he can be proud of or simply to ease his way to the end of his term.
Otherwise, we simply have to wait for his successor to decide whether or not to resume of the peace negotiations. The NDFP is desirous of peace negotiations but is not afraid of the reactionaries who are fixed on waging a counter-revolutionary war against the people.
5. You say that the NDFP is ready at any time to resume the talks. But it would be a big impediment for the government to resume talks if NPA attacks continue while talking? Are you ready to accept nationwide ceasefire as precondition for resuming the talks?
JMS: Duterte and his sidekicks Lorenzana and Año are not telling the truth when they claim that the NPA attacked the AFP and the PNP during ceasefires. It is their side which never stopped to occupy and militarize the barrios and attack the NPA and the people. The AFP continued Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan up to the end of 2016 and then launched Oplan Kapayapaan in early 2017.
There was never any letup in AFP, PNP and paramilitary attacks against the revolutionary forces and the people. Complaints about these attacks were always submitted by the NDFP negotiating panel to the Joint Monitoring Committee under CARHRIHL to allow the peace negotiations to proceed.
But in the case of the GRP, upon the prompting of Lorenzana and Año, Duterte always went direct to the press to complain against the defensive actions of the NPA and worse to terminate the peace negotiations. He terminated the negotiations so many times, four times if we count the termination he last made on June 14 to stop the Interim Peace Agreement from being signed in Oslo on June 28, 2017.
The NDFP is willing to negotiate under conditions of ceasefire or no ceasefire. It was Duterte and the AFP that launched attacks during the more than five months of ceasefire from August 2016 to January 2017. The NPA forces kept on evading the attacks unless they were compelled to fight back. As in the period of Ramos, it is possible to negotiate while fighting and make the agreements towards a just and lasting peace.
6. A personal question, i posed this to you before. Are you prepared to die in another country, meaning, are you not eager to return to the Philippines? As you say, you can come home only upon the successful end of the talks. And should this not happen, you must be ready to accept that you would not see the Philippines again. Sorry, Ka Joma for the emotional question.
JMS: I have always stood and fought for the Filipino people’s national sovereignty and democracy in preparation for socialism. I am a patriot and against any imperialist power like the US wishing to perpetuate all-round dominance over the Philippines and China wishing to move in by turning our country into a debt colony through overpriced infrastructure projects and through takeover of the West Philippine Sea and the the oil, gas and other natural resources there.
I am also an internationalist, a proletarian internationalist. I do not mind dying in a foreign country if that is the only way to avoid submitting myself to those who oppress and exploit the Filipino people and who wish to bribe, imprison or kill me. I have done my share of fighting in the battlefield and defying hardship and threats to life in nine years and being imprisoned for another nine years in the fight against the Marcos fascist dictatorship.
I do not mind being a political refugee for as long as necessary. I have the support of my compatriots and foreign friends in the spirit of proletarian internationalism and international peoples’ solidarity.
7. At any time since 1992, have you been offered any high position in the GRP in order to win you over from the side of the NDFP? Or have you been subjected to any threats, pressure or any punitive action in connection with your role as NDFP chief political consultant?
JMS: Two presidents have offered cabinet positions to me and Ka Luis Jalandoni, while he was the chairperson on the NDFP Negotiating Panel. But we politely declined the offers and countered that we would consider the offers only after the complete success of the peace negotiations. I need not identify the presidents because the offers were made informally through intermediaries.
The threats, pressures and punitive actions taken against me in connection with the peace negotiations are publicly known to some extent. After Estrada terminated the peace negotiations in 1999, we received reports that one hit team after another was sent to the Netherlands in a plot to knife me to death. This was exposed by General Berroya in January 2001.
The Arroyo regime requested the US gove5rnment to designate the CPP, NPA and myself as terrorists in late 2001 in order to pressure the NDFP to accept a so-called final peace agreement which amounted to the surrender of the NPA. The US listing in August 2002 triggered my being listed in the so-called terrorist lists of the Dutch government and the European Union. The social benefits I had as a political refugee were withdrawn
The Arroyo regime also fed the Dutch authorities with hearsay and speculative testimonies in falsely accusing me of several murders and causing my detention for 17 days in August 27 to September 13, 2007. But I have prevailed over the false murder charges and the EU terrorist list by taking legal action and winning my cases with finality in the Dutch courts and in the European Court of Justice in 2009.
8. What were the deals behind that offer Cabinet post offer? Was it somewhat related to the “surrender” of the NPA or stop of the communist insurgency, something like that? Since the offer was made during Ka Louie’s term as NDFP panel chief, it was not PRRD. Please clarify who made the offer of cabinet posts?
JMS: There were no deals of any kind because we declined the offers outrightly. If we accepted the cabinet posts, we would have become sellouts. PRRD did not offer any cabinet post directly to Louie and me. But he publicly offered four cabinet posts to the CPP in 2016. Please review the news accounts in 2016. I replied that he could get patriotic and progressive individuals on their personal merits for competence, integrity and diligence. He subsequently appointed Rafael Mariano and Judy Taguiwalo on the basis of their individual merits and NOT as representatives of the CPP.###