Sison lashes out at Duterte after unresolved ceasefire

Jose Maria “Joma” Sison (Photo:

For calling him a “butangero” (hoodlum), President Rodrigo Duterte lashed back at his former college professor, Communist Party of the Philippines (CCP) founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison, and branded him “arrogant” whom he said should first win an election to gain his respect.

In a television interview, Sison also assailed the President for being ill-tempered and for acting like a bully and treating the communists like his “personal servants.”

“Duterte is too quarrelsome and he is too confrontational. If he does not want peace, then so be it,” Sison said via phone patch from Utrecht.

“That ceasefire is hollow, empty. It does not mean anything,” also said Sison.

Sison was referring to the unilateral ceasefire the President announced in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 25.

He said that while Duterte claimed that it is effective immediately, the “Somo” (Suspension of military operations) was released the next day.

He said the Somo itself was “defective” since military operations were allegedly not halted and troops occupying communities, schools and barangay halls remained.

The President called off the truce five days later due to the failure of the communist rebels to declare their own ceasefire.

Duterte asked the CPP to announce its own truce after communist rebels staged an ambush in Davao del Norte last July 27, leaving one militiaman dead and four others injured.

Sison insisted the CPP was poised to announce a reciprocal truce at 8 p.m. on July 30 but it was overtaken by the President’s retraction.

Speaking before troops at the Camp Peralta in Jamindan, Capiz, Duterte attacked Sison who called him a thug after he lifted the government’s unilateral ceasefire with the CPP.

“His (Sison) saliva goes out of the screen. Your face will end up being wet,” Duterte said of his mentor.

He accused Sison of fooling people and drooling during interviews. He said the communist leader talks as if he knows governance when he has never captured a village.

“You would think they are somebody yet they cannot even control a single barangay. I don’t know. That’s the style of bandits,” he added.

He castigated the communist rebels for bragging as if they have already gained power.

“The Communists are speaking like they are a force to reckon with even though they cannot occupy a barangay,” he also said.

While conceding the CPP has the tactical advantage in the mountains, Duterte stressed government forces “cannot be vanquished.” He said they will not be defeated despite the rebels’ advantage in some areas.

“They can stage ambuscades but we won’t run out of men,” he said.

“One day, once we acquire the equipment, even if you just bring slingshots, you will be able to kill them. You can just use stones against these braggarts.”

The government and the National Democratic Front (NDF), the political arm of the communist rebels, are set to hold formal peace talks in Oslo, Norway from August 20 to 27.

Sison also acts as the chief political consultant of the NDF. Sison and Duterte used to have a relatively good relationship.

They discussed the possibility of Sison, who is in exile in The Netherlands, going home and Duterte implementing pro-poor policies.

To support the resumption of the negotiations, Duterte declared a ceasefire with the rebels during his first SONA.

Meanwhile, responding to Duterte’s attacks, Sison said he would just let it pass, saying he cannot answer comments from an angry person.

“I would rather talk with President Duterte personally or behind closed doors about the substantive agenda of peace talks in order to push it forward. I have a high level of tolerance,” Sison said in a video conference from The Netherlands. (MCA)