Roque on talks: Ball now in Reds' court

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

November 28, 2017, 6:10 pm

MANILA -- Following the termination of peace talks between the Philippine government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Tuesday reiterated that the ball is now in the Left's court for any possible revival of negotiations. 

“It is permanent that the cessation of peace talks is permanent for now," Roque said. "It’s ironical but that is really the status right now."

He added the government has "to shut the doors for now to any ongoing peace talks," but this does not necessarily mean it would be for good.

"I am not in a position to say that the door will forever be shut," he said. "We need to see sincerity on the part of the CPP-NPA. Show us that you are sincere and I’m sure the President will act accordingly."

"The ball is in the court of the CPP-NPA. Show the requisite sincerity and the President might just consider. But for now, no more peace talks," Roque stressed.

Asked what conditions will signify CPP-NPA-NDF's sincerity, Roque said it would be up to them. "Nasa kanila na ‘yon. Nasa kanila na po ‘yon (It is now up to them)."

Roque pointed out that President Duterte for his part had exerted all efforts just to give way to the peace negotiations.

"Talaga namang wala nang ibang Presidente na nagbigay ng ganitong leeway para magkaroon ng usaping kapayapaan (There's really no other President who gave way for this kind of peace talks) and you have got to give it to President Duterte," he said, noting how the chief executive acknowledged CPP-NPA members as stakeholders.

"At some point, Cory Aquino, I guess, also did that pero that was for a very short period of time only. Pero dito po talagang maximum tolerance naman na ang kanyang ipinakita (here, he really showed maximum tolerance)," he said.

Meanwhile, for the government to send the CPP an official letter of notice, Roque said that would be "too legalistic."

"What else do they want? The President already issued a proclamation saying it’s been terminated. It’s not as if the NDF has a status of a state. It’s not as if we’re dealing with a treaty entered into between state parties. That’s enough that there is a formal proclamation."

"Whether or not they will be given a formal letter of termination, to me, that would be superfluous. Get a copy of the proclamation and it’s very clear: Peace talks are over for now," he said. (PNA)