ROME, Italy—The Government of the Philippines (GRP) will recommend to the President the de-listing of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chair Jose Maria “Joma” Sison from the list of international terrorists to pave the way for his Philippine homecoming without being arrested.
This was one of the recommendations agreed upon by the GRP and the National Democratic Front (NDF) panels during the 4th day of the peace negotiations on Tuesday afternoon, January 24, here in Italy.
GRP chief negotiator Silvestre Bello III also said the de-listing of the CPP from the US list of international terrorist organizations would put into fruition the commitment of Sison to President Rodrigo Duterte to return to the Philippines as part of the ongoing peace negotiations.
President Duterte and Sison had earlier agreed to meet in any neutral Asian country once the latter is de-listed from the list of international terrorists.
The European Union (EU) has long ago removed Sison from the terrorist list.
Bello said there is basis for the US to remove the CPP and the New People’s Army (NPA) from the list since its political umbrella, the National Democratic Front, Sison 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 re-entering Europe once he travels outside the EU 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 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 arrest of Sison outside of EU which is protective of the rights of people seeking political asylum in its member countries.
Sison lives 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.
Bello said, with a new US president in Donald Trump, it is possible Sison could be removed from the list of personalities considered by the US government as terrorists.
Sison, together with a handful of young activists and members of the old communist party in the Philippines, re-established the Maoist-oriented CPP on December 26, 1968.
The following year, the CPP formed its armed wing, NPA.
Sison is the chief political consultant NDF, the political umbrella of the CPP-NPA.
The Philippine government is holding peace negotiations with the NDF to put an end to the 48-year guerrilla war in the country.