Some people can't understand why NDF consultants are still pursuing the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) for the continuation of the talks. The GRP, through its highest leader, Philippine president Rodrigo Roa Duterte himself has practically, and possibly unilaterally, terminated the talks, even threatened NDF consultants of arrest should they come back to the Philippines. This is a different Duterte now, a stark contrast to the reconciliatory Duterte a year back who even urged NDF chief consultant Jose Maria Sison of a "hero's welcome" should the former professor decides to come home. Duterte alleges that Sison is gravely ill. He even told Sison, who happens to be his former professor, of spending for his medical expenses if the former CPP leader decides to spend his retirement days here in his country.
In response to Duterte's threat, NDF consultants are consulting with their respective lawyers while still opening back channel talks with the GRP panel.
Duterte's action probably came from a validation that NDF consultants which the Dureza-led GRP panel are in consultation with do not fully represent the CPP-NPA-NDF. For one, ground sources say the Party has elected a new set of leaders during a plenum last March and these leaders are somewhat wary about Duterte whom they suspect of laying the foundations for a dictatorship. Many within the Party believe that it is practically useless to ally themselves with this administration since it is now showing its reactionary colors.
This explains why the CPP leadership issued an order directing NPA units to continue offensive operations against the AFP. The fact is--that order came as a consequence of direct and continuous AFP offensives against NPA units in different territories or claimed NPA-influenced areas. And that order shows the disparity between what is happening at ground level and what is being discussed and talked about at the negotiating table.
The problem now with these consultants is that they do not assert influence over younger cadres and leaders. They have problems internally and I think those can be solved within the year. Duterte, according to some kasamas, is like a monkey wrench thrown at the Left. That is why it is highly important to do an analysis of Duterte to serve as a guide on how to handle him.
Anyway, I think our friends are forgetting one thing about negotiations--one has to negotiate in a position of strength. Based on news reports, the panel is being pictured as mendicants. Inspite of highly public pronouncements from the GRP that they are disengaging from the talks, NDF consultants still insist on continuing the talks inspite of the overt acts of the President not liking what is happening with it.