AR­REST OF PEACE WORKER DOOMS TALKS WITH REDS

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - NEWS - By Delfin T. Mal­lari Jr. @dt­mal­lar­i­jrINQ

LUCENA CITY— The ar­rest of Na­tional Demo­cratic Front of the Philip­pines (NDFP) peace con­sul­tant Rey Casam­bre is an­other nail in the cof­fin of the peace talks be­tween the gov­ern­ment and the com­mu­nist rebels.

NDFP chair Fidel Ag­caoili said on Satur­day that Casam­bre was the fourth NDFP con­sul­tant to be ar­rested this year.

“The Duterte regime’s un­just ar­rest of Casam­bre on lu­di­crous charges vir­tu­ally closes the doors to any pos­si­bil­ity of re­sum­ing the peace ne­go­ti­a­tions,” Ag­caoili said in a state­ment.

Casam­bre, 67, and his wife Pa­tri­cia Cora, 72, were ar­rested in Ba­coor, Cavite, on Fri­day while on board their car on the strength of a war­rant for mur­der and at­tempted mur­der is­sued by a re­gional trial court in Lupon, Davao Ori­en­tal.

Peace worker

He is also the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the non­govern­ment Philip­pine Peace Cen­ter, and his wife a trans­la­tor for the group. Both suf­fer from di­a­betes. Po­lice claimed they re­cov­ered from Casam­bre a .45-cal­iber pis­tol, a frag­men­ta­tion grenade, det­o­nat­ing cord and sev­eral bul­lets.

“As was done to the other ar­rested NDFP con­sul­tants, the ar­rest­ing team planted firearms, am­mu­ni­tion and ex­plo­sives in the Casam­bre’s ve­hi­cle to en­sure their pro­longed and un­just de­ten­tion,” Ag­caoili said.

The crime of mur­der is or­di­nar­ily non­bail­able, un­less the court finds weak ev­i­dence to war­rant pros­e­cu­tion.

Big­ger plan

Il­le­gal pos­ses­sion of firearms, how­ever, is or­di­nar­ily bail­able un­der Repub­lic Act No. 10591, but the pos­ses­sion of ex­plo­sives or any of its parts is non­bail­able un­der Repub­lic Act No. 9516.

Ag­caoili said three other NDFP con­sul­tants—Vi­cente Lad­lad, Adel­berto Silva and Rafael Bay­lo­sis—were also ar­rested on sim­i­lar charges of il­le­gal pos­ses­sion of firearms and ex­plo­sives.

All of them are still de­tained pend­ing the res­o­lu­tion of their cases.

Silva was ar­rested with four oth­ers in Santa Cruz, La­guna, on Oct. 15, while Bay­lo­sis was ar­rested in Que­zon City, on Jan. 31.

Ag­caoili said the ar­rests were part of a big­ger plan to harass peo­ple who con­trib­uted to the peace ne­go­ti­a­tions.

The Com­mu­nist Party of the Philip­pines said the ha­rass­ment sig­ni­fied Pres­i­dent Duterte’s “wors­en­ing fas­cist clampdown and de facto mar­tial law rule” to sup­press op­po­si­tion groups.

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