From the Philippine Star (Aug 5): Government seeks arrest of 21 NDF peace consultants
Solicitor General Jose Calida filed before different regional trial courts (RTCs) a manifestation seeking the issuance of recommitment orders against 21 NDF members who were allowed to post bail last year to participate in the peace talks in Norway. Facebook screengrab/Presidential Communications, File
The government yesterday formally filed in various courts petitions to have leaders and members of the communist National Democratic Front (NDF) re-arrested and jailed following President Duterte’s decision to cancel the peace talks.
Solicitor General Jose Calida filed before different regional trial courts (RTCs) a manifestation seeking the issuance of recommitment orders against 21 NDF members who were allowed to post bail last year to participate in the peace talks in Norway.
“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 explained yesterday.
The solicitor general argued that President Duterte’s declaration of the NDF and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) as “enemy of the State signified that any peace negotiations with them have been rendered inutile and therefore must officially end.”
Calida explained that when the Supreme Court (SC) granted bail to them in its resolution in August last year, which was adopted by the RTCs, the SC had set specific conditions.
“One of the conditions is that once their participation ceases or the peace negotiations are terminated, their respective bonds shall be deemed automatically canceled,” he stressed.
It was the Office of the Solicitor General that sought temporary liberty for the 21 NDF consultants, including Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, last year for their participation in the peace process between the communist rebels and the government.
Apart from the Tiamzon couple, covered by the immigration lookout bulletin order (LBO) are 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.
Last February, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued the LBO against the other NDF leaders.
The government called off the peace talks after recent attacks by the CPP’s armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), on government troops.
It has also cancelled backchannel talks set later this month in Europe following the attack of suspected NPA rebels in North Cotabato last Wednesday that wounded five members of the Presidential Security Group.
Last May, President Duterte suspended formal peace talks after both sides failed to resolve a dispute over the CPP’s order for the NPA to step up attacks against the government.
Calida explained earlier that the communist leaders could not invoke the 1995 Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantee (JASIG) in invoking their right to remain outside of detention as it provided for their immunity from arrest.
“SC decisions form part of the law of the land. Hence, the resolution dated Aug. 2, 2016 supersedes the defunct 1995 JASIG agreement between the parties, which has become moot and academic,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the CPP tagged President Duterte as a lackey of the US yesterday for denouncing North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons.