THE fate of Jose Ma. Sison, better known as Joma, is virtually in the hands of his pet peeve - Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte. Both the United States of America and the European Union had declared the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed elements, the New People's Army, (CPP/NPA) terrorist organizations. What actually saves Joma from landing in the calaboose is the fact that he packaged himself as a victim of Marcos persecution and prosecution.
He got his ticket to freedom courtesy of former Pres. Cory Aquino and since it is the same military and police forces that he will be dealing with he cannot risk going about town and opted to hide away to his present asylum - the Netherlands, which is part of EU that abhors terrorism like plague. In hindsight is it not intriguing that despite the unique treatment and favors extended to him by Cory, the peace negotiation between the CPP/NPA and her government failed?
The answer is reflected in Joma's tirade against Duterte. He has this consuming dream of a coalition government between his 3,000 plus forces and the administration of Aquino before and Duterte now. Joma accuses Duterte of reneging in his promise of a coalition. But, as President Duterte stressed, how can he share the government which he does not own?!
Contrary to JMS accusations, it is Duterte in fact who factually demonstrated his sincerity in allowing communists to participate in governance by allocating sensitive Cabinet positions and appointing their nominees to these posts. The President also went the mile to free incarcerated CPP/NPA leaders to participate and pursue the peace talks to its ultimate goal of stable end. But in each round of talks a new agenda and demands are presented while back home ambuscades, extortion, harassments and murders are taking place.
Duterte was JMS' best bet in achieving his romantic goals. The President does not need to struggle to achieve what is utopian to Sison. As City Mayor of Davao, he does not hide his support for the legal political fronts that sought elections in Congress, he visits NPA camps and engages them to intimate talks. His political adversaries denigrate him for his avuncular regard for rebels. As President, not a few doubted his motives when he appointed commies in his cabinet. Never in the annals of our political history has a head of state built such degree of confidence building with rebel groups. Recognizing the fact that adhering to communist ideology is no longer a crime in this country, it was easy for Duterte to accommodate them while working for a stable and permanent peace. They can participate in running the government but farming out the government authority and territory like a food franchise is the last thing in the mind of the President.
For critics to say that President Duterte has incoherent policies when it comes to peace building are totally out of sync or oblivious to what and how the Chief Executive has bended too far back to win the rebels to the folds of the law.
Joma is wrong if he thinks his former student cannot run this country and return its dignity to the community of nations. The Philippines is back as a fulcra in the Asean community. Duterte has broken the backbone of crime and drug syndicates and is focused on curbing corruption in the government bureaucracy. Next year, the country will embark on an unprecedented build, build, build program Professor Joma can never imagine his student can do. He has stayed too long in the foreign land he is hopelessly ignorant of what is going on in his native land. Sad.
Despite the CPP/NPA terrorist tag, it boggles the mind why Joma enjoys the hospitality of the Netherlands. We can only venture a guess. His host country gives space to the government and the CPP/NPA/NDF manifestation to end their conflict via peace negotiation for which reason JMS and his comrades in EU were given a certain degree of movement.
The declaration of President Duterte that effectively ends peace talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF places JMS and his pals in a category which will now limit their movement. The formal announcement of the President branding the triumvirate a terrorist organization will make their life miserable.
If Joma continues badmouthing the President for the failed negotiation and if the NPA intensifies its attacks on government forces and civilians it is not farfetched Duterte will hammer the terrorist tag on CPP/NPA/NDF. The EU will be forced to cut off not only Joma's communications line to the NPAs but also... his living allowance.