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PIA Press Release

Malacanang rejects NDF-Madrigal demands

Manila (13 November) -- Malacañang laughed off the call of the National Democratic Front (NDF) and Sen. Jamby Madrigal for the removal of Secretary Hermogenes Esperon as chief of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) as a precondition for the resumption of the peace talks between the government and the communist rebels.

"They (NDF and Madrigal) are in no position to foist any such demand on the government," Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said at his regular Wednesday press conference this afternoon in Malacañang.

In dismissing Madrigal and NDFP chair Luis Jalandoni call for the removal of Esperon as presidential adviser, Ermita pointed out that Esperon, a retired Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff, continues to enjoy the full confidence of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

He said that while Madrigal has all the right to do what she wants to do as head of the Senate Committee on Peace, Unification and Reconciliation, whatever agreement she forges with the NDFP is not binding on the executive branch.

"The peace process is still in place. It is temporarily suspended because of things we thought should be agreed upon before we resume" negotiations, said Ermita, who is concurrent presidential spokesman.

"First of all, they (NDFP and Madrigal) are not in a position to place demands before the government," he added.

He pointed out that the "subject matter on the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunities Guarantee (JASIG) is crucial in the consideration of the resumption of the peace talks."

"Sila naman ang ayaw tumupad sa conditions ng JASIG. Marami nava-violate… Mabuti i-suspend 'yan para ituwid yan; at kailangan mag-umpisa tayo sa tamang paraan para umusad ang negotiations," Ermita added.

Madrigal met with Jalandoni in the Netherlands yesterday.

Jalandoni and the other NDF rebels in self-exile are also demanding that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed group, the New Peoples Army (NPA), and CPP founding chairman, Jose Ma. Sison, be delisted as terrorist organizations and as a terrorist, respectively, in the United States and the European Union. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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