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Marcos burial issue could tilt peace talks with reds

NDF peace negotiator Fidel Agcaoili. File photograph from Raymund Villanueva/Kodao Productions
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA - How the Duterte administration handles the aftermath of the controversial burial of the late president Ferdinand Marcos at Libingan ng mga Bayani could make or break the peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF), Fidel Agcaoili, the chief negotiator for the communist group said.

"The question is: Is it a cutting edge issue that will break the peace negotiations?  We had said before, no, but that was then," Fidel Agcaoili said in an interview, citing recent events surrounding "the surreptitious burial, complete with honor guards; the Supreme Court decision that seemed to ignore the historical judgment of the people; and President Duterte keeping on repeating that Marcos has no criminal conviction."

Agcaoili pointed out, however, the many civil judgments that paved the way to the forfeiture of the Marcos asset.

Agcaoili said the peace negotiations could be affected "adversely" if the Duterte administration continues to ignore or sidestep the atrocities committed during the Marcos-era martial law.

The next round of talks in Oslo, Norway is scheduled to get underway on the third week of January.

Agcaoili said the NDF would like to see the administration's action in fully implementing the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, which provides for the recognition and compensation of the victims.

He also took note of veiled forebodings about the prospective suspension the writ of habeas corpus or possible imposition of martial law.

"These things may not be easy for him to do, but we don't know. There is all this persistent talk about the state of lawlessness," he said, stressing that NDF will continue to be "guardedly optimistic" about the President and his policies.

"We never relinquished our criticalness to his policies, which we view as not being pro-people and not progressive."