Thursday, April 6, 2017

NDF: NDFP protests surveillance of Tiamzons, lawyer

Propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Apr 6): NDFP protests surveillance of Tiamzons, lawyer

NDFP Media Office
Press statement

 6 April 2017

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) has lodged a formal protest with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) concerning the surveillance and harassment of NDFP panel member Benito Tiamzon, political consultant Wilma Tiamzon and legal consultant Atty. Edre Olalia.

In a letter to GRP panel chair Silvestre Bello III, NDFP panel chair Fidel Agcaoili said the Tiamzon couple and Attorney Olalia were tailed despite their use of vehicles from the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG).

Agcaoili said that on 16 March, Olalia, along with Norwegian ambassador to the Philippines Erik Forner and other embassy staff met the Tiamzons as they arrived at the airport from the backchannel talks in Utrecht, The Netherlands. The car they rode, which bore diplomatic plates, was tailed from the airport by two vehicles, one of which was a land cruiser.

The group later transferred to another diplomatic vehicle. Upon their transfer, however, they were again tailed, this time by “two dark-skinned burly” men in civilian clothes riding a motorcycle.

The vehicle took circuitous routes in an effort to evade the tail, and managed to lose it by entering the expressway where motorcycles are prohibited. The group was later able to reach the designated drop off point, “late but safe.”

Agcaoili called the incident a “provocation” and a serious violation of the 1995 GRP-NDFP Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

He added that it also ran counter to Bello’s written guarantee to Ambassador Forner dated 6 March 2017 assuring the “safe and unhindered” departure and arrival of the Tiamzons and NDFP consultant Vicente Ladlad from the special consultations in Utrecht.

Agcaoili said that the surveillance moreover violated the Utrecht Joint Statement of March 11 regarding the safety and liberty of all the NDFP consultants.

The fact that Olalia and the Tiamzons were tailed while riding diplomatic vehicles likewise violated the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961) and the 1973 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents, said Agcaoili.

He called on Secretary Bello to look into the matter, which he branded a “serious attack on the rights, liberty and even safety of our peace consultants” and asked that the GRP ensure that such incidents would not be repeated.

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