Duterte: Peace talks canceled when communists proposed a coalition gov't

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 24) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said a "coalition government" proposed by the communists was among the reasons why he officially terminated the peace negotiations.

"I already noticed the trend of the thoughts of the other side. And when I summed it all, reading from all previous working papers-it sounded like a coalition government," Duterte said in a speech at Camp Tecson in San Miguel, Bulacan.

"That is why I said in the previous days. I cannot give you what I do not own. And certainly, a coalition government with the Republic of the Philippines is pure nonsense," he added.

Duterte, however, did not give any details on the proposed "coalition government."

READ: Duterte formally ends talks with Reds

He added the attacks from the New People's Army (NPA), which occurred amid ongoing negotiations, also prompted him to sign Proclamation No. 360 on Thursday.

The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, while its political arm is the National Democratic Front.

Duterte also said he is ready to engage the NPA in war if that's what the rebels want, telling the troops to be prepared for more attacks.

CPP founder Jose Maria Sison called Duterte a liar. In a Facebook post on Sunday, he said it was Duterte who first floated the idea of a coalition government in 2014. Quoting a news report, he said Duterte saw coalition as the answer to ending the decades-long war with the rebels.

In September 2016, Duterte said he was not ready for a coalition government and that communism was rejected by the people.

The President once again threatened to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines as a terrorist group, saying communist leaders out on bail due to the peace talks should surrender.

READ: Duterte orders freed communist rebels to surrender: 'Go back to where you belong'

 

Negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front seemed to be progressing, with President Duterte extending a ceasefire in July in exchange for the NPA laying down their arms. But the rebels did not heed the call as they launched a series of attacks against civilians and government forces in different rural areas of the country.

The Norwegian government has been acting as third-party facilitator of the talks. Jose Maria Sison, the communist party founder and National Democratic Front chief political consultant, has been in exile in the Netherlands since 1988.

CNN Philippines' Ina Andolong contributed to this report.