President Rodrigo Duterte said on May 19 that Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison is suffering from a rare bone marrow disease, which is why he would allow Sison to return home to the Philippines.
“I said Sison can go home here. I will guarantee his safety and freedom. He will be free to walk around, may sakit na eh. Hayaan mo. Sison is seriously sick. He has a rare—something to do with—not leukemia—but sa bone marrow. Parang ganoon na rin. Come home. I’ll pay for the hospital,” Duterte told the audience at the 25th AFAD Defense and Sporting Arms Show in Davao City.
The 78-year-old Sison has been in exile in The Netherlands since 1986. He was taken to the hospital in January, which caused him to miss the third round of peace talks in Rome, Italy.
However, Sison denied on May 20 that he has a rare bone marrow disease.
“I do not have any rare bone marrow disease. I do not know how President Duterte got that notion,” he said in a statement.
“I am now in good health. I have been out of the hospital since March 30. I was able to attend the fourth round of formal talks, and I shall be able to attend the forthcoming fifth one,” Sison added.
The fifth round of peace talks is scheduled on May 27 to June 1 in The Netherlands.