Was the unilateral ceasefire ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte in good will with the Communist Party of the Philippines- New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) a lost opportunity or does Jose Maria Sison, CPP’s exiled leader, simply underestimate Duterte’s resolve to win the war against his rebel forces?
It is bad enough that Sison ignored Duterte’s call for cessation of hostilities at the reasonable time limit given by the latter, but it is even worse that Sison was seething with anger as he berated the president for calling off the ceasefire even as he claimed that he was prepared to reciprocate Duterte’s move for a ceasefire.
I heard Sison’s vituperations against Duterte when he was interviewed on national television, describing the president as ‘volatile’ and ‘butangero’(roughly translated as tough guy or a thug) who thinks he can pull his weight around now that he is president. Sison even mocked Duterte’s call for a ceasefire as hollow and inconsequential.
If Sison’s fiery reaction and use of blistering language against the president, who has shown nothing but cordiality, sincerity and tolerance in achieving peace with the CPP-NPA, is not an utter show of arrogance and disrespect, then I don’t know how else to describe Sison’s attitude towards somebody of authority who yearns for a peaceful and stable country.
Duterte has always been sympathetic with the leftist and he has not minced words about his leanings.
Would anyone still question Duterte’s stand and commitment when at the very start of his administration he already wanted members from the left to be in his Cabinet, thus, the presence of Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano and Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo?
Not only that. Duterte also made true his promise to free political detainees and send negotiators to Utrecht, Netherland as requested so peace negotiation could be started soon enough.
Now, one can say that Sison’s recalcitrance is indeed a test to Duterte’s leadership.
With two seemingly hotheads and revolutionists colliding, what are we to expect?
The obvious! Government’s war against the CPP-NPA continues.