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Sara hits amnesty grant, peace talks with Left

VICE President Sara Duterte yesterday openly criticized President Marcos Jr.’s proclamations granting amnesty to communist and other rebels who have committed crimes for their political beliefs.

Duterte also said the Marcos government’s recent decision to hold peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines’ (NDFP), the umbrella organization of communist groups in the country, is “an agreement with the devil.”

Past governments have held peace negotiations with the communist group, including that of Sara Duterte’s father, Rodrigo Duterte who later tagged the communists as terrorists.

The Vice President, whose political alliance with the administration is threatened because of her rift with the President’s cousin, Speaker Martin Romualdez, appealed to the Chief Executive to reconsider the move to resume peace talks with the communist group, citing atrocities committed by the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, against both soldiers and civilians.

“Mr. President, the government’s statement with the NDFP in Oslo was an agreement with the devil. Napatunayan na natin sa kasaysayan na hindi sila seryoso at wala silang sinseridad sa usaping pangkapayapaan. Gagamitin nila itong peace negotiation sa pagtraydor sa pamahalaan at paglinlang sa taumbayan (History has proven that that they’re not serious and sincere in talking peace. They will use this peace negotiation to betray the government and fool the people). We appeal to your power to review these proclamations and agreements,” she said in a speech at the 5th founding anniversary of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

The task force has gained notoriety among activists and even militant lawmakers for its practice of red-tagging.

The Vice President said she supports steps to ensure lasting peace “because the fight against terrorists is deeply personal to me, as it is deeply personal to the families of countless Filipinos whose lives were forever upended because of the madness of terrorists.”

But instead of granting communist rebels amnesty, the government should just allow the NTF-ELCAC to continue its work and strengthen