MALACAÑANG expressed hope on Thursday that the United States (US) would heed the call of the Duterte administration to remove Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison from its list of international terrorists.

Speaking to reporters, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said delisting Sison from terror list was aligned with President Rodrigo Duterte's intention to pursue peace dialogue with Sison.

"The request for the delisting of chairman Jose Maria Sison is aligned with the President's wish to hold peace talks with the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines," Abella said.

"The government maintains its position that there is no reason for the US to deny this request, bearing in mind that Mr. Sison is part of the negotiating panel," he added.

At the third round of peace talks in Rome, Italy, the national government and the National Democratic Front have agreed to push for the removal of Sison from the US terror list.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the government's chief peace negotiator, had said delisting Sison would allow him to fulfill his commitment to Duterte to participate in the ongoing peace negotiations without being arrested.

Bello also stressed the US should remove Sison since the latter had already committed to joining the peace dialogue

Asked then if the Palace would act immediately on Sison's removal from the list, Abella said, "I don’t know if it’s going to be as soon as possible but it’s part of the process."

Abella is confident that the ongoing talks "are moving forward."

"We are gaining actually and the talks will not be hampered by any activities on the ground so to speak," the presidential spokesperson said. (SunStar Philippines)