The rebel returnees flown to Manila for a dinner with President Rodrigo Duterte are “impostors” masquerading as former communist rebels, exiled Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Jose Maria “Joma” Sison said on Friday.
The so-called former fighters from the New People’s Army (NPA), the CPP’s armed wing, are either only “close relatives” of barangay (village) officials or soldiers “in civilian clothes.”
“I have been informed that the first and second batches of the so-called NPA surrenderees or rebel returnees, presented to Duterte by his military and barangay officials, are all fake,” Sison said in a statement.
“These impostors are close relatives of barangay officials and soldiers in civilian clothes. They are into the charade for the junket to Manila,” he added.
On Tuesday, about 241 former communist rebels were flown from Davao City to Manila for them to dine with President Duterte at Malacañang.
According to the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command, most of the former communist gunmen were from the provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte.
The supposedly former rebels were welcomed by Armed Forces chief Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City on Wednesday.
Sison said Duterte and the military’s “psywar agents” have engaged in the “discredited trick of conjuring the illusion of breaking up the revolutionary movement.”
“Duterte is daydreaming if he thinks he can entice the NPA commanders and fighters to go home and thus break up the NPA with his offer of money, housing and skills training,” he added.
Sison noted that members of the revolution do not join the NPA just to get “handouts” from the enemy.
“And they are perfectly well at home with the people in the guerrilla fronts to which they are assigned,” he said.
The communist leader slammed the President for insulting leaders of the NPA and fighters for saying that they have no choice but to wage war with government security forces, calling Duterte “ignorant” for not knowing the armed rebel group.
“The NPA is not only a fighting force for the people’s democratic revolution but also an educational and cultural force, a force for carrying out the social and economic programs of the revolutionary movement,” Sison explained.
In July last year, Duterte canceled peace negotiations with the Left led by the National Democratic Front (NDF), an umbrella group composed of the CPP and the NPA, among others.
The termination stemmed from the NPA ambush of a convoy of the Presidential Security Group at Arakan, North Cotabato.
But Sison renewed his call to Duterte to reconsider his decision to scrap the peace talks with the NDF if the President wants “lasting peace in the Philippines.”
“Through the peace negotiations, the necessary social, economic and political reforms can be negotiated and agreed upon by the GRP [Government of the Republic of the Philippines] and the NDF,” he said.
“But the problem with Duterte is his mania for unlimited power and wealth and his lack of sincere interest in the realization of the people’s clamor for genuine national independence, democracy, social justice, economic development, cultural progress and durable peace,” Sison added.