NDF consultant: Marcos burial will not derail peace talks

A NATIONAL Democratic Front (NDF) peace consultant from Northern Mindanao said the controversial issue on the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos will not derail the peace talks.

Pedro "Ka Gonyong" Codaste admitted, however, that the burial has an "effect" on the talks.

"Duna man kini epekto pero dili kini maka derail sa peace talks (It has an effect but it will not derail the peace talks)," Codaste said in a statement.

"As to how and up to what extent we really don't know because there is a growing protest from the public," he added.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) issued on Saturday, November 19, a strong criticism against President Rodrigo Duterte for allowing the Marcos burial.

The group asked Duterte to "reverse" its decision "or risk mounting protests."

“In ordering his military honor guards to bear the tyrant’s casket in a hero’s funeral, Duterte exhibited gross disrespect and insensitivity to the Filipino people’s sufferings under the brutal martial law rule and to the martyrs and heroes of their epic resistance,” the CPP statement said.

The communist groups' relationship with Duterte has often been at odds but has not been as glaring as Friday's burial that left the country in shock -- and divided.

READ: Marcos' burial sparks protests across Philippines

The highly secretive funeral plan shocked many pro-democracy advocates and human rights victims who staged several protests nationwide on that day to oppose the burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, where former presidents, soldiers and national artists have been interred.

READ: Marcos buried at Libingan ng mga Bayani

Communist-identified Cabinet officials have declared their continuing support to Duterte despite their opposition to the burial.

Department of Social Welfare Judy Taguiwalo was the first to denounce the burial.

READ: Marcos no hero -- Taguiwalo

But Codaste chided Duterte for allowing the burial, saying the President "has unmasked his true color as trapo (traditional politician)."

Codaste frowned on the administration's pronouncement that Duterte is unaware of the burial.

He said it was the Armed Forces of the Philippines, through its spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla, who refuted Malacañang claims that the President is unaware of the burial.

READ: Palace: Government just assisted in Marcos burial

"They (government) 'devilishly mislead the people' in saying he is not aware," said Codaste.

He said the AFP cannot act on its own without the approval of its chief of staff.

Chief peace negotiator Secretary Silvestro Bello said Tuesday that the differences in opinion "is of little significance" to the ongoing talks. (Vanessa L. Almeda/Sunnex)

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