MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte admitted the government is in backchannel talks with communists despite his order to suspend peace talks.
"Well, I must admit there's a backchanneling," said Duterte on Tuesday, March 7, during a chance interview with media at the Palace.
WATCH: Smiling #PresidentDuterte refuses to 'spoil' developments in peace talks with communists pic.twitter.com/cnCoCBk1sI — Pia Ranada (@piaranada) March 7, 2017
He was asked for any update on the peace talks. The Communist Party of the Philippines and 3 of his own Cabinet members want peace talks to resume.
Duterte, who had expressed disillusionment about attaining peace with the Reds, was more upbeat when he hinted at developments in the backchannel talks.
Smiling sheepishly, he said he did not want to "spoil" things.
"Well, ano lang (let's just), hang on, hang on kasi (because) – do not spoil," he said.
After announcing he was scrapping talks with the Left back in February, Duterte repeatedly said he saw no reason the talks could resume during his term.
He later on softened his stance to say he might – if there is a "compelling reason."
Weeks after, the Palace said a bilateral agreement with certain provisions might convince Duterte to revive talks.
The provisions that could persuade Duterte are the following:
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.