Updated Mar 20, 2019, 11:51:55 PM
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 20) — Malacañang has terminated the appointment of government's peace panel members negotiating with the communist rebels.
The Palace confirmed Wednesday the release of the termination letters, which were signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
Among those who received the letter were Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello, and panel member Angela Librado-Trinidad, who confirmed to CNN Philippines.
Jose Maria Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, said in a Thursday statement that they anticipated the cancellation of the panel members' appointment.
He said President Rodrigo Duterte "has no interest in the peace negotiations because he has always schemed to use the armed conflict as an excuse for carrying out martial law nationwide and for railroading charter change to a bogus kind of federalism in order to realize and impose fascist dictatorship on the Filipino people."
He said Duterte has repeatedly ignored the Left's openness to peace talks.
"It is totally the responsibility of Duterte that he gives no choice to the people's revolutionary movement but to single-mindedly wage and intensify all forms of struggle against his treasonous, tyrannical, corrupt, brutal and swindling regime," Sison said.
In the past, the government and the rebels accused each other of violating ceasefires, prompting Duterte to terminate the peace talks aimed at ending the communist group's five-decade insurgency, one of the longest running in Asia. The government also seeks to tag the New People's Army, the CPP's armed wing, as a terrorist group, but that bid is still pending in court.