MANILA -- Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson raised the possibility that New People's Army (NPA) rebels no longer heed the orders of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria "Joma" Sison after suspected communist guerillas launched separate attacks in Iloilo and Camarines Norte provinces despite declaring a ceasefire that was reciprocated by President Rodrigo Duterte.
"The latest attack on our soldiers by NPA rebels despite the ceasefire simply means that they don’t listen to Joma Sison anymore," Lacson said in a tweet.
Sison downplayed the NPA attacks, saying they “do not mean willful and systematic violations of ceasefire" since they were isolated cases.
The CPP founder earlier expressed openness to resume with negotiations with government in a country near the Philippines.
Lacson also raised another possibility that if indeed the NPA rebels still listened to Sison, he could have been lying about his desire to resume peace talks.
"Either that, or he cannot and should not be trusted. Localizing the peace talks is still the better way, I think," he added.
On Sunday, Duterte ordered a 15-day ceasefire from December 23 until January 7 next year as a confidence-building measure ahead of the resumption of formal peace talks with consultants of the CPP’s political arm, the National Democratic Front (NDF).
However, suspected communist guerrillas ambushed policemen and soldiers in separate attacks in Iloilo and Camarines Norte provinces on Monday morning.
Reports showed that one soldier was killed while two policemen and six others were wounded in the attacks.
Acting Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa were not enough to recommend the immediate cancellation of the ceasefire.
Malacañang said the government is prepared for possible NPA attacks, saying it did not matter if the NPA does not honor its word because the purpose of terrorist organizations is to “put the government down.”
“Let me put it this way: The communist rebels will always want this government to fall; that is precisely the purpose by which this organization has been conceived from the very beginning,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
“So it is not far-fetched that they want to eliminate all the officials running this government. But we are prepared for that. We are ready for that, they have been trying to do that for the last 50 years and they have failed,” he added.
Panelo said should the NPA continue to launch attacks despite the ceasefire, it will immediately destroy the presumption of its sincerity in resuming the peace talks. (PNA)