GRP panel to ask for de-listing of CPP leader from US terror list

ROME, Italy-- As the peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front (NDF) comes to a close, the government peace negotiators are set to recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte requesting the United States government to remove from its terrorists' list Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chair Jose Maria "Joma" Sison.

This will pave the way for Sison's return to the Philippines anytime without being threatened of arrest by US authorities through the International Police (Interpol) when he travels outside of the European Union-member countries.

This was one of the recommendations agreed upon by the GRP and NDF panels during the panel to panel meeting in the 4th day of the peace negotiations on Tuesday afternoon in Rome, Italy.

GRP chief negotiator Secretary Silvestre Bello III said de-listing Sison from the ranks of international terrorists would also put into fruition the commitment of Sison to President Duterte to return to the Philippines as part of the ongoing peace negotiations.

The President and Sison had earlier agreed to meet in any neutral Asian country once the latter is de-listed from the list of international terrorists, Bello recalled.

The European Union has long ago stricken Sison from the terrorist list.

Bello said there is basis for the US to remove the CPP and the NPA from the list since its political umbrella, the NDF, is now involved in peace negotiations with the Philippine government.

If the de-listing happens, Bello said Sison can join the panels in succeeding talks anywhere outside Europe.

As asylum seeker in The Netherlands, Sison can be barred from re-entering Europe once he travels outside the European Union countries.

"Baka ang talks sa Philippines na (Maybe the talks can be held in the Philippines) because we are trying to get support from the people," Bello explained.

The inclusion of the CPP-NDF and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA), in the US terrorist list has become a stumbling block for the return of Sison to the Philippines.

The US, through its control of the International Police (Interpol), can always effect the arrest of Sison outside of EU which is protective of the rights of people seeking political asylum in its member countries.

Sison lived in exile in Utrecht, The Netherlands when his passport was cancelled by the Philippine government under President Corazon Aquino in 1987.

The arrest of Sison will affect the GRP-NDF negotiations. Sison is the chief political consultant of the NDF, the political umbrella of the CPP-NPA.

Bello said with a new US president in Donald Trump, it is possible Sison could be stricken from the list of personalities considered by the American government as terrorists. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency