Ar­rest of NDF ne­go­tia­tors closes room for talks — Joma

The Philippine Star - - NEWS - By JOSE RODEL CLAPANO

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.”

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