Arrest of NDF negotiators closes room for talks — Joma
The arrest of consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF) is a clear indication that President Duterte is leaving no space for the possible resumption of peace negotiations, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison said yesterday.
Sison maintained the arrest of NDF consultant Vicente Ladlad last Thursday was a frame-up with trumped up charges.
Sison added Duterte wants to establish a “fascist dictatorship through martial law.”
“It is obvious that he is leaving no space for the possible resumption of the … peace negotiations in order to scapegoat the CPP, NPA (New People’s Army) and NDF as terrorists and give him the pretext to establish a fascist dictatorship through martial law and charter change for a bogus federalism,” he said.
Sison said Ladlad and the other arrested NDF consultants are covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).
“In case of breakdown or even termination of peace negotiations, the safety and immunity guarantees in the JASIG for negotiators, consultants and resource persons of both (panels) have continuing reciprocal effect, that they do not become criminally liable for participating in the peace negotiations,” Sison said.
Sison said to consider peace emissaries as combatants is “barbaric.”
He said the CPP, NPA and NDF have always respected the safety and immunity guarantees for the negotiating personnel, negotiators, consultants, resource persons and emissaries of the government even in periods of breakdown or even termination of peace negotiations.
“It is absolutely wrong for the military and police personnel to plant an entire armory (not just one but several firearms, plenty of ammo and explosives) and make Vicente Ladlad … appear as a combatant despite his aging and sickly condition, with chronic asthma deteriorated to emphysema,” Sison said.
Sison said the military and police brought into the house the bags of weapons used to frame Ladlad.
Ladlad was arrested Thursday with two of his staff, spouses Alberto and Virginia Villamor, and charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
Police and military intelligence agents raided their supposed safehouse in Barangay San Bartolome and seized an AK-47 assault rifle, an M16A1 assault rifle, a .45 caliber pistol, four hand grenades and assorted ammunition.
Lawmen also seized several documents, including books and CDs they tagged as “subversive.”
The NDF demanded the release of Ladlad, as well as other communist leaders, from detention.
NDF peace panel chairman Fidel Agcaoili said the charges against Ladlad and the other consultants were all “trumped up.”