CPP denies ‘hit list’ claim; accuses Esperon of sabotaging possible peace talks resumption

Robie de Guzman
Fighters of the New People’s Army-Melito Glor Command (NPA-MGC) gather at an undisclosed location in the mountains of Sierra Madre in Quezon Province, south of Manila, Philippines, 26 December 2018, to celebrate the 50th year founding of the Communist Party of the Philippines (issued 27 December 2018). EPA-EFE/
ALECS ONGCAL

MANILA, Philippines – The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Friday denied claims its armed wing, New People’s Army (NPA) has a “hit list,” as earlier alleged by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.

In a statement issued Friday, the CPP said Esperon’s claim was just a ploy that aims to “sow intrigue in order to sabotage the planned resumption of formal peace talks.”

“Together with fellow peace antagonists Delfin Lorenzana of the Department of National Defense and DILG’s Eduardo Año, Esperon is adamant in adhering to GRP President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement to resume the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines,” the communist group added.

On Tuesday, Esperon revealed they have received reports on the alleged assassination plans of the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA against him, Duterte, Año and other government officials ahead of the group’s founding anniversary on December 26. 

He advised law enforcement and security forces in the country to take countermeasures against the possible threat.

But according to the communist group, it is the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) who have tagged activists to their “infamous orders of battle.”

“It is in fact the AFP and PNP who keep in their infamous ‘orders of battle’ names of activists, progressives, and other individuals supportive of the people’s struggles for democratic rights,” the CPP statement read.

“It is the regime’s death squads in the military and police who have killed close to 300 peasants, workers, indigenous peoples, human rights workers, journalists, lawyers and other democratic forces in the last three years,” it continued.

The issue on the alleged NPA hit list came after Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the government’s chief peace negotiator, said that the peace talks with the Reds may likely resume soon.

Bello said he met with communist party founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison and National Democratic Front senior adviser Fidel Agcaoili in the Netherlands earlier this month following Duterte’s order to talk to Sison on the possibility of resuming peace negotiations.

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