Does resumption of peace talks absolve jet-setting Labor secretary from graft?

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President Rodrigo Roa Duterte just gave Labor secretary Silvestre Bello III the authority to renew talks with CPP-NPA-NDF leader Jose Maria Sison at the Netherlands. National security adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. assures everyone of Duterte’s sincerity on the resumption of peace talks with the Communists.

While this is going on, Defense secretary Lorenzana meanwhile says there is no cessation of hostilities during the Holiday season between state security forces and the New People’s Army or NPA. Armed encounters will continue between government and rebel forces.

The question that remains–does this directive from Duterte absolve Bello of his alleged “sins” going to and fro the Netherlands during the time when Executive Order 70 signed and issued by Duterte was in effect? That order prohibited talks between government and the rebels, considered by the US state department as “terrorists.”

No.

Basing on the complaint filed before the Ombudsman and before the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) by public advocate Ado Paglinawan, Bello went on 45 trips with several female companions, costing the government at least 4 million pesos. Bello tried to justify it by saying that some of his side trips to the Netherlands, were all known by the President, or were given strict authority from the President to talk with Duterte.

Meaning, Duterte himself violated his own order stopping anyone from his own government from negotiating or even talking with the Communists based at the Netherlands? Or Bello just used the President as a foil for his jet-settings around the world?

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