Defense secretary recommends to end peace talks with Reds

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Secretary Delfin Lorenzana says the communist group has launched its movement to oust the President since May 2017. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 2) — The country's secretary for national defense recommended to terminate the government's negotiations with the communist group, following reviews of their activities, including the President's ouster. 

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana issued a statement on Monday, saying the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) conspired to craft a three-year plan to "advance the revolutionary movement" that included Duterte's ouster should he refuse to implement a "coalition government."

He added the CPP, NDFP and the New People's Army (NPA) discussed the plan when they held the second People's Congress and the Central Committee Plenum during the ceasefire, and formally launched the "OUST DUTERTE" movement on May 2017, to culminate on October 2018.

"Based on the foregoing deliberate actions of the CPP/NDF/NPA, it is obvious that they are not sincere to talk peace and end the Armed Conflict," Lorenzana stated.

The secretary said the government panel from former President Benignio Aquino III's administration also recommended the abrogation of the talks, saying they "were just being taken for a ride". Review of the NDFP's peace documents revealed a foundation for power sharing via coalition government.

The government panel ruled the communist group as "not truthful, sincere and honest" in pushing for peace with the government, adding that the Communists only opened negotiations to obtain concessions. These include the release of high ranking party members and giving their armed components to recover lost grounds and mass base.

"They are employing the Revolutionary Dual Tactics to show semblance of Peace but continually [conducting] Violence and Terror Acts on the ground." Lorenzana said.

The President earlier tagged the NDFP's proposal for a coalition government as "pure nonsense," without disclosing its details, and indefinitely cancelled the talks in November last year.

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

Talks of negotiations resurfaced when Duterte announced that he would "reconsider" speaking to the communist group again after brief consultations with the military.

READ: Duterte to reconsider peace talks with Reds

Lorenzana added that the CPP, NDF, and NPA  "can't comply" with the President's four preconditions to resume the talks.

He cited the "signs of sincerity" for the communist group as not having a coalition government; absence of attacks and collection of revolutionary taxes; for the NPA to stay in safe areas of their choice; and, for them to cease recruitment or mass mobilization.

The CPP and NPA have also have been tagged as a Terrorist Organization locally and internationally, Lorenzana said, adding that the groups have betrayed the trust of the government when they allegedly used their position in the Cabinet, as appointed by Duterte, to advance their revolutionary movement.

In 2016, Duterte appointed CPP-affiliates, former Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano as agrarian reform secretary, Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) women's committee head Judy Taguiwalo as secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and Liza Maza as the National Anti-Poverty Commission Chief (NAPC), to join his Cabinet.

Lorenzana also mentioned that the Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) and indigenous peoples (IPs) in Mindanao do not want the NPA to return to their communities. He also said the ICCs and IPS also asked for the CPP/NDFP/NPA to publicly apologize for their crimes which spanned almost 50 years.

The secretary's statement comes after CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison issued his own recommendation to back out from the peace talks after multiple postponements and the President's insistence to hold the talks in the country, where his jurisdiction holds weight.

The CPP meanwhile backed Sison's recommendation to postpone the talks, saying, "it has been starkly clear that peace talks with the GRP (Government of the Philippines) under Duterte was going nowhere. Duterte has proved himself a stubborn anti-peace president and warmonger."

READ: Bello says peace talks still on as CPP backs Sison's call to end negotiations

The President earlier said, should the talks no longer proceed, he is "fine" with it.

READ: Reds drop talks with Duterte administration; President says that's fine