Palace dismisses Joma taunt on Aquino, Abad

THE Palace dismissed the suggestion of communist leader Jose Ma. Sison that the incoming Duterte administration arrest and jail outgoing President Benigno Aquino III and his Budget secretary Florencio Abad over their misuse of public funds via congressional pork barrel.

"Regarding the arrest, it is a prospective scenario. It is not feasible between now and June 30," said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., referring to the end of Aquino's term next month.

"There are many questions that pertains to prospective actions of the incoming administration and the incoming president... Maybe it would be better to wait for it to happen first," Coloma said, adding that speculations do not help create conducive business climate.

Jose Ma. Sison

Coloma was reacting to the statement that Sison posted on his Facebook page suggesting Aquino and Abad's arrest for plunder because they were "responsible for looting and unprecedented corruption" in the allocation of Priority Development Assistance Fund that was outlawed by the Supreme Court.

Sison posted the remarks on Wednesday, several days after Duterte announced that he would consider releasing some detained communist rebels in a bid to jumpstart peace talks with the National Democratic Front which has been stalled since February 2011.

"It is the hope that we can meet before his oathtaking as he promised during my Skype conference with him on April 25. He said he would come soon after [he is elected President]," Sison said on his Facebook page.

Sison said representatives of the CPP and Duterte were holding preparatory talks for the visit, the date of which he did not disclose.

"I expect to meet President Duterte soon in Europe, whether the meeting is preceded by, concurrent with or followed by preliminary meetings of the [Government of the Philippines] and ]National Democratic Front of the Philippines] negotiating panels," Sison said.

Sison hopes that the meeting would be held before Duterte's oathtaking on June 30.

Sison showed a video recording of his internet video conversation with Duterte, where the Davao mayor mentioned his plan to visit the CPP leader based in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Duterte, in the video recording, said his meeting with Sison was aimed at preparing the agenda for the resumption of peace talks and threshing out related issues.

Sison also welcomed the declaration of Duterte's spokesperson, Peter LaviAa, that the incoming president may release jailed communist rebels.

LaviAa also disclosed that Duterte would allow Sison and other exiled communist leaders to return to the country for the resumption of the peace talks and to review the status of political prisoners.

"Of course, I am hoping for the release of all political prisoners," Sison said. "They have long been unjustly detained on false charges of common crimes by the Arroyo and Aquino regimes."

Their release, Sison said, "will be conducive to an immediate mutual ceasefire and cooperation and the accelerated negotiation of the comprehensive agreements on social, economic and political reforms."

He said the release of political prisoners had been done during the administrations of Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos.

Sison said communist rebels were open to the crafting of a new democratic Constitution and to Duterte's proposal to study federalism as a form of government for the country.

Source: The Standard