Jose Maria Sison is the founder and leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he had invited Jose Maria Sison, a self-exiled Communist rebel leader, back to the country for “make or break” peace talks. The head of state affirmed that, despite attempts to declare Maria Sison a terrorist, he would be allowed to leave the country after the negotiations.
“He has agreed, and I gave him a window of two months, very small,” Duterte said, adding that “I will see to it and will personally escort him to the airport.”
He vowed to bring Maria Sison to the airport regardless of the outcome of the negotiations so that he may return to the Netherlands.
Despite avoiding a response to Duterte's invitation, Sison told ABS-CBN that he was willing to return to the Philippines to resume peace negotiations.
Prior to his election, Duterte vowed to revive a faltering peace process to bring an end to a five decades long conflict that has claimed the lives of over 40,000 people.
However, the peace negotiations have been fraught with problems and Duterte had abandoned talks in November, complaining of duplicity and repeated rebel attacks. Maria Sison is the founder and leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines, or CPP.
He used to be Duterte's university professor. Since his release from jail he has resided in Europe, after his release from jail following the fall of Ferdinand Marcos, according to Reuters.
The government has requested a court to designate Sison and hundreds of CPP and New People's Army members as “terrorists.”