Duterte says he will not order arrest of Sison during peace talks, but threatens to ‘kill’ him if negotiations fail

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Chief of the National Democratic Front of Philippines (NDFP) Jose Maria Sison answers journalists' questions during the opening ceremony of the formal peace talks between the Philippine government and the (NDFP) in Rome on 19 January 2017. — AFP

By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter

President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Thursday, May 24, vowed that he would not order the arrest of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison even “if nothing happens” in the peace negotiations between the government and the communist camp.

“I have invited Sison to come home. He has agreed. I gave him a window of two months, very small. Make or break tayo dito. [speaks Bisaya] I will see to it and will personally maybe escort him to the airport ‘pag walang nangyari sa [if nothing happens in] two months. I will allow him to go out. I will not arrest him because [that is] word of honor,” the President said in his speech during the inauguration of the Davao River Bridge Widening Project in Davao City on Thursday evening.

However, if the peace talks fail, the President threatened to “kill” Mr. Sison if the latter wishes to return to the Philippines.

Pag walang mangyari, sabihin ko talaga sa kanya (If nothing happens, I will tell him), ‘Do not ever, ever return again to this country. I will kill you. You’ve killed so much of my soldiers and policemen,’” he said.

Mr. Duterte has asked Mr. Sison to come home to participate in the resumption of peace talks between the government and the CPP.