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Communist leader calls Duterte’s dare, to come home

Joma Sison, 78, says will do so to fight Duterte, the way he fought Marcos in the 70s

Image Credit: File
Jose Maria Sison of the National Democratic Front and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte
Gulf News

Manila: The founding leader of the 46-year old Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) said he would call the dare of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to come home, adding he would do so to fight the leader whom he accused of being a "puppet" of United States imperialism.

CPP-NPA founder Jose Maria Sison, 78, said on his Facebook post that he would call the dare of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, that he should return to the Philippines “to fight the Duterte puppet regime of US imperialism”.

He will do so if the CPP-NPA and the National Democratic Front (NDF), CPP-NPA’s negotiating arm with the Philippine government since 1992, see this move as necessary, said Sison.

If the plan materialises, Sison said: "That means surmounting my being in the same old age bracket as Duterte and evading the constant surveillance by the United States, Dutch, European and Philippine reactionary intelligence agencies.”

Sober up’

It was in reaction to Duterte, 72, who criticised Sison at the wake of six police officers being killed in an operation in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, central Philippines.

“If you are truly a revolutionary leader...come home and fight here,” said Duterte who compared Sison’s good life in Utrecht with NPA members who live in far-flung mountainous villages where there are no government services.

Giving Duterte advise on how to be and why he should be a peacemaker with the CPP-NPA-NDF, Sison said the president should “sober up” and allow the government panel to “seriously negotiate” with leftist rebel leaders.

“At his ripe old age of 72, he should not try to project an image of a strutting young fighter at my expense. He should sober up and allow his negotiating panel to seriously negotiate with the NDFP negotiating panel and make agreements on social, economic and political reforms that lay the basis of a just and lasting peace for the benefit of the Filipino people,” analysed Sison.

Unmasking Duterte, a self-proclaimed socialist and peacemaker, Sison said, “The way he continues to talk he really hates to engage in peace negotiations with the NDF.”

Reminding Duterte to have a sense of time, Sison said: “I must remind Duterte that we are well past the age of retirement in the NPA and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). At any rate, I choose the battlefield where I fight and the types of battles that I wage.”

“These cannot be dictated by Duterte who hopes vainly that the US and European intelligence would tip him off as soon I leave The Netherlands for the Philippines.”

Jailed for nine years

Sison could not help but boast of his achievements as a revolutionary, saying: “I was an active part of the people’s war against (former dictator Ferdinand) Marcos for nine years, 1969 to 1977 and then went to fascist prison for another nine years.”

“I surpass the field record of many reactionary military officers who are in the field for a few years until they are assigned desk jobs and then retire at the age of 56,” said Sison, adding he continued his advocacy to wage a peoples’ war while in prison.

Former President Corazon Aquino released Sison from prison after she was propped up to power by a people-backed military mutiny in 1986.

Pursued by rebel soldiers

But Sison went into exile in the Netherlands after right-wing rebel soldiers who helped Aquino to the presidency started attacking leftist leaders who were then establishing a political party to join political elections.

“I do not have to prove again that I have the revolutionary will and courage to wage armed struggle against oppression,” Sison concluded.

The word war between Duterte and Sison began after the backchannel talks between the Philippine government and the NDF were cancelled.

Sison was Duterte’s professor in political science at Manila’s Lyceum University before the former became a rebel leader.

Heated words

Duterte and Sison have been exchanging heated words after the backchannel talks between the government and communist rebels were cancelled. 

Sison's statement came a day after Duterte told the CPP founding chair to kill himself, saying that it would do the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG) a favour.

"Sison, tumanda ka na lang diyan, ayaw mo pa aminin na may sakit ka. Maawa ka naman sa Norwegian government, pakamatay ka na lang (Sison, you've grown old there, you don't want to admit you're ill. Spare the Norwegian, just commit suicide)," Duterte said during the ceremonial turnover of financial assistance to the families of fallen soldiers and policemen killed in Marawi City.

During his second State of the Nation Address, Duterte claimed that Sison was suffering from colon cancer, which Sison — who is also the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) political consultant — denied, calling the President's claim a "blatant lie."

Sison said that he was "amused" by the President's advice for him to commit suicide, but said he would never give Duterte the same advice.

"But what I suggest to him is to consult a professional psychiatrist to take care of his mental health," he said.

"First, he threatened to kill me. Now, he tells me to commit suicide. Is this another symptom of a malady in which the sick person enjoys boasting of having police units and death squads that commit extrajudicial killings with impunity and with monetary rewards per victim?" he added.


Meanwhile, Sison said Duterte was under the wrong impression that he spends most of his time in Norway seeking medical treatment.

"Now, let us correct his false claims against me and expose his lack of factuality. He seems to be under the impression that I stay most of the time in Norway and get my medical treatment there," he said. "No, I stay most of the time in The Netherlands. It is a Dutch private or NGO charitable foundation that pays for my medicine and medical treatment to the extent of more than more 98 per cent in the last 10 years or so," Sison added.