Roque belittles Joma’s influence on youth

Published January 22, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

By Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos

Malacañang downplayed Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison’s call for the youth to hold mass protests against President Duterte, saying the President’s former professor is not important.

Sison was calling the youth to emulate the riots which occurred during the period of civic unrest in the country known as the First Quarter Storm in 1970.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the Palace does not anymore put much value on the statements of the CPP founder who has been in the Netherlands for the past three decades.

“We don’t attach too much importance on Joma Sison. I hope he has enough grandchildren to heed his call,” Roque said during Malacañang’s regular Monday press briefing.

“Ang problema kay (The problem with) Joma Sison is he is stuck in history. He never moved beyond the First Quarter Storm,” he added.

The First Quarter Storm was composed of a series of heavy demonstrations, protests, and marches against the government which were held with the first three months of 1970.

“With the signal act of the student youth, the rest of the people — workers, the peasants, women, youth of other sectors, cultural workers, professionals and religious — will participate in the mass-protest movement,” Sison said in an online interview.

This is not the first time that the Palace has shrugged off Sison’s statement against the Duterte administration.

Last week, Sison said that he is willing to talk to Duterte about peace as long as their meeting occurs in a neutral country.

However, the statement of Duterte’s former professor was dismissed by Roque in a press briefing Monday last week.

“Sorry to burst his bubble, he’s not that important,” Roque said.

Duterte terminated the peace talks with the Reds last November, 2017, through Proclamation No. 360, following the NPA’s ambush in Talakag, Bukidnon which left a policeman and a four-month-old baby dead last November 10, 2017.

On December 5, Duterte signed Proclamation No. 374 declaring the communists as terrorists and ordered their arrest under the Human Security Act (HSA). He earlier ordered the arrest of non-armed legal fronts for conspiracy to commit terrorism under the HSA, and the re-arrest of those temporarily released as an act of good faith to the peace talks aside from those who are already old.