Truce panel head’s resignation confirmed

December 27, 2018

THE chairman of the government peace panel’s ceasefire committee has resigned, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III yesterday confirmed reports of the resignation.

Bello, chairperson of the negotiating panel, said his members confirmed to him that Francisco “Pancho” Lara Jr.  has left his post.

The Cabinet official, however, could not say what prompted Lara to quit after a news report said Lara disagreed with some of the administration’s strategies in dealing with the communist rebels.

“I have not spoken to him yet. If that is true then he did an honorable thing kasi kung hindi mo nasasang-ayunan ‘yung ginagawa ng amo mo the honorable thing to do is leave your amo,” Bello said at a news conference in Malacañang.

The report, citing Lara, said demands by President Rodrigo Duterte such as the localized peace talks and for exiled communist leader Jose Maria Sison to return to the Philippines for the resumption of negotiations “torpedoed” the discussions of a ceasefire.

The communists are against the localized peace talks and Sison had said he would return only if there would be significant development in the peace negotiations and if his lawyers were satisfied with legal and security precautions.

Bello also defended Duterte’s harsh rhetoric against the communists, saying it was “normal” because both sides are in a “state of armed conflict.”

Duterte on Saturday rejected the unilateral ceasefire declared by the communists for the holiday season and ordered troops to “destroy” the Communist Party of the Philippines and all its legal fronts.