MANILA MalacaAang on Thursday assumed Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) head Avelino 'Billy' Andal was sleep-deprived after claiming that President Rodrigo R. Duterte appointed him to lead backdoor talks with the Reds.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this remark after the President himself rejected Andal's claim saying he had no instruction to appoint Andal to lead backchannel talks.
Mr. Andal was not authorized. He was not authorized to do back channeling, the President himself said so, Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Siguro puyat na siya, baka inaantok na siya, baka (Perhaps he was sleep-deprived, maybe he was still sleepy) he misunderstood the conversation. Can't blame him, he added.
Andal claimed that the President personally informed him about his plan to let him lead backdoor talks in a wake in Manila last week.
Panelo, however, said he had no personal knowledge about the conversation which took place during the wake.
Hindi ko alam, hindi ko alam iyan (I don't know that). I was not there during the lamay (wake) that he referred to so I cannot... I have no personal knowledge, Panelo said.
Meanwhile, Panelo said the conduct of localized peace talks with communist rebels was among the main topics discussed in the recent Armed Forces of the Philippines-Philippine National Police (AFP-PNP) command conference on Tuesday (January 15).
Ang sinabi sa akin ni Secretary (Delfin) Lorenzana, napag-usapan doon at saka ni Secretary (Hermogenes) Esperon iyong localized peace talks, parang doon ang concentration (Secretary Lorenzana and Secretary Esperon said that the conference concentrated on localized peace talks), Panelo said.
Ini-encourage iyong peace talks sa local hindi iyong national (They are encouraging local not national peace talks), he added.
Lorenzana has earlier expressed support for localized peace talks noting that the President did not want to be accused of turning his back against peace.
In 2017, Duterte ended peace talks the CPP and its armed wing, the New People's Army, tagged by the US and the European Union as terrorist organizations, as they continued to commit abuses and demand for a coalition government.
Instead, through Executive Order 70, a national task force will be created to formulate a National Peace Framework anchored on the "whole-of-nation" approach which prioritizes the delivery of basic services and social development packages by the government, facilitates societal inclusivity, and ensures active participation of all sectors of the society in the pursuit of the country's peace agenda. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency