Saying he has “already conceded so much,” President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he is reluctant to give in to the demands of communist rebels, including the release of all political prisoners.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) over the weekend said it may revoke the unilateral ceasefire it earlier declared if political prisoners are not released.
“I cannot give you that. I’m sorry but I have already conceded so much on the side of the government,” Duterte said in a speech during the Christmas three lighting ceremony in Malacanang.
But Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said steps have been taken for the release of political prisoners as promised earlier on by the Duterte government.
“Earnest efforts have been ongoing on the releases of prisoners. But necessary legal processes take awhile as cases are within the jurisdiction of the judiciary, an independent and co-equal branch,” Dureza said.
“We understand their angst and impatience but we are all forgetting that these efforts were never possible nor even imaginable in the previous times. It is only in the Duterte administration that these releases are all happening,” he added. Catherine Valente