Posted at 10/21/2010 8:05 PM | Updated as of 10/22/2010 1:51 AM
MANILA, Philippines – The founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) hopes that peace talks with the government will successfully proceed this time, as anchored on the political will of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
In an interview with ANC, Jose Ma. “Joma” Sison expressed his satisfaction over Aquino’s choice in choosing human rights lawyer Alex Padilla as the government’s chief negotiator in the peace talks with the CPP-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
“I think the most important thing on the part of the GRP is the political will of Noynoy, if he’s willing to let his panel cover the substantive agenda which is already clear,” he said.
The appointment of Padilla, who also served as senior state prosecutor of the justice department and health undersecretary for heath policy and standards development for health regulation is “an excellent [choice] by Aquino,” he said.
Joining Padilla in the newly reconstituted peace panel are:
indigenous peoples’ rights advocate Ednar Gempasaw Dayanghirang;
human rights advocate Pablito Sanidad;
gender and labor rights advocate Jurgette Honculada; and,
peace and environmental advocate Maria Lourdes Tison.
Of the 4, he only has personal knowledge of Sanidad.
“I think the panel is ready to talk to the NDF,” Sison said. The NDF is the united front alliance of the CPP-NPA.
The statements of Sison could also be a commitment of sorts from the CPP side, which earlier expressed preference for Aquino’s rival in the presidential race, Senator Manny Villar.
In a press conference in Malacañang, Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Quinto-Deles said Padilla’s appointment “signals the President’s resolve in restarting the peace process that is aimed towards addressing the root causes of the armed conflict and forging a political settlement.”