Friday, August 4, 2017

Calida seeks courts on arrest of NDF leaders

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 4): Calida seeks courts on arrest of NDF leaders

Solicitor General Jose C. Calida on Friday said they already filed before the different courts a Manifestation for the Issuance of Recommitment Orders for the National Democratic Front (NDF) consultants who were granted bail to participate in peace talks with the government.

“Due to the eventual termination of the peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway and the cancellation of the backchannel talks in the Netherlands, the NDF Consultants who were granted conditional release should be recommitted and their respective bonds should likewise be cancelled,” Calida said in a statement.

“The Supreme Court, in several Resolutions, laid down the conditions for the provisional liberty of NDF personalities Satur Ocampo, Randall Echanis and Vicente Ladlad. One of the conditions provide that once the peace negotiations are terminated, their bonds are deemed automatically cancelled,” Calida added.

He noted that since all judicial decisions form part of the law of the land, the courts can now issue recommitment orders as these NDF consultants are similarly situated to Echanis and Ladlad.

According to Calida, President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration that the CPP/NPA/NDF is an enemy of the State signifies that any peace negotiations with them have been rendered inutile and therefore must officially end.

Twenty-one NDF personalities, accused of various criminal cases pending before different trial courts in the country, were granted conditional release by the trial courts to enable them to participate in the peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway.

The Solicitor General reminded President Rodrigo Duterte has already declared communist rebels enemies of the State.

As such, Calida said this signifies that any peace negotiations with the communist insurgents have been rendered inutile and therefore must officially end.

Last July 19, a militiaman was killed while five members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) were injured when about a hundred members of the New Peoples Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), attacked them in Barangay Katipunan, Arakan, North Cotabato.

Earlier, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II supported Calida seeking the courts to cancel the bail bonds of the leaders and members of communist group NDF and recommit them to their detention facilities.

"I agree with the OSG. Their release was temporary and preconditioned on the peace talks. If the peace talks will no longer be pursued then they should go back to jail," Aguirre said.

Aguirre said the NDF leaders cannot invoke the 1995 Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantee (JASIG), which provided for their immunity from arrest, because it was already superceded by the SC ruling in August last year granting their bail.

Aguirre said the DOJ will leave to the OSG the filing of necessary motion in regional trial courts handling the cases of the NDF leaders.

Apart from the Tiamzon couple, the other NDF leaders granted bail were Tirso Alcantara, Ma. Concepcion Bocala, Pedro Codaste, Renante Gamara, Alan Jazmines, Ernesto Lorenzo, Ma. Loida Magpatoc, Alfredo Mapano, Ruben Saluta, Adelberto Silva, Ariel Arbitrario, Renato Baleros Sr., Kennedy Bangibang, Jaime Soledad, Rafael Baylosis, Alex Birondo, Winona Birondo and Porferio Tuna.

The DOJ chief, however, assured that the conditional pardon granted by President Duterte on 10 convicted communist leaders and members would remain.

"That pardon cannot be recalled because of the cancellation of peace talks," he noted.

Aguirre explained that the pardon granted on NDF peace consultant Emiterio Antalan and nine other political prisoners -- Joel Ramada, Apolonio Barado, Jose Navarro, Generoso Rolida, Arnulfo Boates, Manolito Patricio, Barigueco Calara, Sonny Marbella and Ricardo Solangon -- was hinged on other conditions.

The pardon grant released by the Office of the President last July 7 came with conditions, including reporting to their chief parole and probation officer at least once a month, allowing visits from the Philippine National Police Provincial Director of their area of residence, and no change in their residence during the period of parole without obtaining consent from authorities.

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