Joma rants vs. localized peace talks immaterial: Lorenzana

MANILA -- Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria "Joma" Sison's rants against localized peace talks are nothing but a noisy distraction, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Sunday.

"Sison's rejection of localized peace talks comes as no surprise to us. Unfortunately for him, what he thinks and says are immaterial because we have now brought the discourse to the local insurgents sans Mr. Sison. I consider Sison's rejection and rant as just a noisy distraction, like the barking of a dog that is best ignored," Lorenzana said in a message to reporters.

Lorenzana also chided Sison for thinking that the government would stop on its peace initiatives just because the latter does not support it.

"Did he think that the government would stop just because the 'mighty' Sison rejects it? Fat chance Mr. Sison. Do you really think that you still hold sway over events here in the Philippines? Dream on Mr. Sison. Hold on to your misguided dreams because they are all that's left for you. The world has moved on while you continue to wallow in your delusions of grandeur. The reality on the ground is that your fighters, whom you have abandoned in order to seek the comforts of the Netherlands is wizening up and returning to the folds of the law in great numbers," he added.

Lorenzana also took offense to Sison's claims that localized peace talks are just a waste of money.

"If the money given to those returning to society so that they will have stable and sustainable livelihoods, so that their families will have medical care, so that their children can go to school, so that they will have the resources to start new lives and put food on their tables is a waste of money, so be it. Let us waste more money on these kinds of endeavors then. Your problem Mr. Sison is that you consider money that is not spent to prop up your gargantuan ego is money wasted. I'll tell you Mr. Sison what money is really being wasted: the monies that you and your cohorts have extorted under the guise of your so-called 'revolutionary taxation scheme' that are never accounted for. While we are at it, let us also include the money spent to maintain your luxurious lifestyle in the Netherlands. Now, that is a real waste of money," the defense chief said.

Earlier, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte will issue an executive order for localized peace talks should talks between the government and the CPP fail to materialize.

Roque said the guiding framework for localized peace talks has been approved during Wednesday's special cluster meeting of the Security, Justice and Peace Committees at MalacaAang Palace.

The meeting was attended by the President, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and some members of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency