MANILA—Malacañang on Thursday said the deaths of four policemen in an ambush allegedly staged by suspected New People’s Army (NPA) in Davao del Sur might affect efforts to revive peace negotiations with the communists.
At a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the deadly incident would provide some sort of distraction in reviving the stalled peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA-National Democratic Front (or CNN according to the Palace official).
“So how it would affect? It will provide some sort of influence but, however, there’s a bigger thing which is the pursuit of peace,” he said.
“I cannot qualify, but quality-wise, I am sure it will influence… It will influence the talks. I suppose the conversation would be that there should be a firmer action coming from the CNN on the people on the ground,” Abella said.
The Palace official reiterated President Rodrigo Duterte’s “compelling reasons” to revive peace talks with the communists.
“Well, the President has actually laid down some conditionalities. Well, basically, some things that he would like — he would like the CNN to abide by, for example, that they should stop extortion and that there should be a bilateral ceasefire,” he said.
“In other words that they should also cease — cease action. That they should, in fact, take it upon themselves to be responsible for their own people and also to release prisoners. I supposed the conversation would be — that there should be firmer — firmer action coming from the CNN side on the people on the ground,” Abella said.
Earlier, the Philippine National Police (PNP) condemned the latest hostility launched by the NPA on police crime scene investigators in Bansalan town, Davao del Sur.
A police team en route to investigate a murder incident were fired at in Barangay (village) Sibayan early Wednesday morning resulting in the deaths of four policemen and causing injuries to another.
Both the police and military tagged the Communist guerrillas behind the ambush.
The four slain PNP members were later identified as PO1 Rholly Benelayo, PO1 Joey Narvaza, PO1 Saro Mangotara and PO3 Jayden May Rabor.
President Duterte is set to visit the wake of the killed-in-police-operation (KIPOs) officers at the Bansalan Municipal Hall Lobby Thursday afternoon.