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Pimentel backs revival of peace talks with communists

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Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Monday stood in approval of the move taken by the House of Representatives in urging for the resumption of the stalled peace negotiations with the communist groups.

Pimentel even said that Malacanang can continue with the peace talks despite a petition seeking to declare 600 personalities identified by the Department of Justice (DOJ) as communists as “terrorists.”

“Dapat (it should continue), whether the other side is willing to talk after that petition (has been filed),” Pimentel said, referring to the motion filed by the DOJ before a Manila regional trial court (RTC) earlier this month.

“Wala namang masama to continue with the talk. Actually ang personal position ko nga, formally or informally, dapat tuloy (ang peace negotiations). Kapwa Filipino eh bakit tayo nagpapatayan,” he pointed out.

The lower house resolution signed by 61 congressmen from both the minority and majority blocs, would have more weight if the Senate will also come up with the same, Pimentel said.

“Mas may weight (yung resolution if it has the sense of the Senate as well). Pero pag-usapan namin ni Sen. (Loren) Legarda kasi kaming dalawa ay consultants ng government panel sa peace talks sa NDF (National Democratic Front),” he said.

In insisting on the need to resume the stalled peace negotiations, the Senate chief said the talks can be ordered withdrawn by the government anytime or pursued even if the courts has declared communist insurgents as terrorists.

“I’m sure there is a pleading which can be filed to withdraw it,” Pimentel said, in reference to the DOJ petition.

The Senate chief and staunch ally of President​ ​Duterte admitted that the decision to abandon the peace negotiations, it only worsened the situation on the ground.

“Kasi kung walang peace talks, talagang lines are drawn eh. So anytime there could be attacks, there could be arrests, there could be killings, ‘yun ang effect. So ‘yung fear andoon na anytime you could be attacked,” he said.

The lower house resolution urged the resumption of the peace talks and called on the President to listen to the clamor of the people.