Joma Sison: Duterte wants counterinsurgency measures to compete with 'Tokhang'

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Communist leader Jose Maria Sison says Duterte is desperate because his counterinsurgency efforts failed to defeat the CPP's armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA). (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 29) — The leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said President Rodrigo Duterte wants his administration's counterinsurgency measures to compete with his war against illegal drugs in the killing of thousands of people.

"Duterte is absolutely crazy in announcing he is forming death squads with the license to kill any istambay, any critic, any actiivist or just anyone whom the death squads suspect or think of becoming or being NPA. He wants Oplan Kapayapaan to compete with Oplan Tokhang in murdering thousands of people," CPP leader Joma Sison told CNN Philippines Wednesday.

Sison said Duterte is desperate because his counterinsurgency efforts, Oplan Kapayapaan, failed to defeat the CPP's armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA).

"Not a single guerrilla front has been destroyed even in Mindanao where he has concentrated 75 of his total of 98 maneuver battalions under conditions of martial law. Duterte has gone out of his mind," he said.

The communist leader added Duterte's move to create a Sparrow Unit of his own, just like the NPA, would abet closing all doors to peace negotiations.

READ: Duterte wants his own death squad to counter NPA Sparrow Unit

Sison also criticized the firing of Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Undersecretary Ronald Flores and Assistant Secretary Yesther Donn Baccay, who was formerly Undersecretary for Support Services and Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) National Program Management Office.

"He wants to place the billlions of OPAPP and PAMANA under the control of the military," he said.

In a separate statement on Facebook Thursday, Sison said Duterte gave in to the demands of the military and caused the resignation of OPAPP Secretary Jesus Dureza to place the office under military control.

"The military want to control OPAPP to prevent serious GRP peace negotiations with the NDFP by imposing the precondition of surrender on the NPA," he said in his statement.

Dureza resigned on November 27 after Flores and Baccay were sacked, taking full responsibility of the alleged corruption in the OPAPP.

READ: Duterte: I regret accepting Dureza's resignation

Malacañang on Thursday, however, shrugged off Sison's allegations.

"Joma Sison is living in a different world. He has lost touch with his men," Presidential Spokesperson Sal Panelo said in a press briefing.

He also refuted the statement of Commission on Human Rights Chairman Chito Gascon saying International Humanitarian Law (IHL) prohibits governments from using death squads.

"You're going to create to prevent the killing of civilians. Masyadong narrow ang kanyang pananaw rito [his perspective is narrow]." he said.

Panelo reiterated the President is following the constitutional mandate to "serve and protect" the Filipino people.