By Genalyn Kabiling
Malacañang has called on Communist leader Jose Maria Sison to “step down from his ivory tower” and contribute to peaceful dialogue, or else be thrown into the dustbin of history.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo told Sison there was nothing dishonorable in accepting defeat, saying there was other ways to effect change other than armed struggle.
“Sison must step down from his ivory tower and extend his hands for peace, for his own sake, for his followers, for the Filipino people, for his country he loves so well,” he said.
“Let him join the ranks of heroic men and women who courageously fought to liberate their country from oppression and enslavement and begin to contribute his intellect and expertise in peaceful dialogues and productive undertakings, for the betterment and progress of the people that moved and inspired him to relentlessly tread the road of revolutionary struggle,” he added.
He said Sison would be reduced to “a historical footnote and thrown him into the dustbin of history” if he misses such “golden opportunity” to talk peace with the government.
Sison earlier rejected President Duterte’s offer to resume peace talks if the rebels stop their extortion activities.
Sison, currently living in exile in the Netherlands, argued that the group’s tax system was not a form of extortion, and should not be a precondition to negotiations.
Panelo however hit back at Sison for his latest incoherent rant, calling him a “failed revolutionary and incorrigible illusionist.”
“Instead of welcoming the President’s softening of his hardline stance on no peace talks with the local Communists unless it puts a stop to their collection of revolutionary taxes, which is a euphemism for extortion, he considers it as an insult to them,” he said.
“He claims that they cannot stop the extortion activities because its stoppage will deprive the ‘people’s government of financial resources for administration and social programs.’ Oh… they have a government?” he added.
He described Sison as “an armchair illusory rebel chieftain” who was running “berserk” with his imagination. “No wonder his ground forces no longer follow him,” he added.
He also urged Sison to wake up from his daydreaming before he gets a nightmare “that will cut short his bourgeoisie lifestyle in The Netherlands.”
Panelo explained that Sison started a cause that attracted hundreds of people but most of them perished depriving the country of young idealistic leaders. He said Sison and a handful of old rebels were left hoping to overthrow the existing political order they failed to do for 52 years.
“Sadly, they have become victims of their own revolution. It is time to rejoin society. There is nothing dishonorable in accepting defeat,” he said.
“There is another path for change other than armed struggle. Filipinos cannot continue killing Filipinos,” he added.