President Rodrigo R. Duterte is still giving a window of opportunity for the National Democratic Front (NDF) to explain the ambush of the government militiamen, a Palace official said on Friday.
”I don’t have a timeline for that but he is giving a window. Based from his statement he is giving a window of opportunity,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a press briefing in Malacanang.
He, however, clarified that “there is a very brief window of opportunity.”
Last Thursday, President Duterte gave the NDF until midnight of Thursday to explain the killing of one militiaman and wounding four other members of the Cafgu Active Auxiliary (CAA) in an ambush staged by the New People’s Army last Wednesday in Davao del Norte.
”The President is very rational person and he will do what needs to be done,” he said.
The ambush happened a day after the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) suspended its military operations against the rebels in response to the unilateral ceasefire declared by the President in his first State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) last Monday.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) welcomed the ceasefire but asked for the release of the political prisoners.
Abella clarified that the CPP’s requests are not preconditions but “part of the negotiations.”
”They’re supposed to be reciprocating as soon as possible,” Abella told the Palace mediamen.
Abella said government peace panel chair Secretary Silvestro Bello III has expressed sadness over the ambush of the government troops.
”As soon as the trust is restored, the things will proceed as agreed upon,” Abella said.
The Palace spokesman said he expects the scheduled peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF on Aug. 20 to “work out as planned.”