Detained National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultant Rafael Baylosis filed a petition for indirect contempt Friday against the warden of the Metro Manila District Jail-4 for refusing to release him despite a court order.
In his petition filed at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (QC-RTC), Baylosis said Jail Chief Inspector Jojie Jonathan Pangan’s refusal to release him is an act constituting improper conduct.
Pangan’s snub of the court order tend to impede, obstruct, or degrade the administration of justice, is disobedience to a lawful order, and tantamount to disrespect to the authority of the court, Baylosis said.
Branch 100 of the QC-RTC ordered Baylosis’s release last June 14 upon his posting of a bail bond to allow him to participate in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.
Baylosis’s release order is valid and existing despite yet another cancellation of formal talks between the NDFP and the Rodrigo Duterte government, Baylosis’s lawyer and Public Interest Law Center (PILC) managing counsel Rachel Pastores said in a statement.
“[Baylosis] has no warrant of arrest in any other case. So there’s no reason for the jail warden to disobey the release order,” Pastores said.
“His continued, unreasonable refusal to implement it is a contemptuous act which not only violates Baylosis’ rights. It clearly shows disdain of the court which must be punished,” Pastores explained.
“The warden is not above the law. He is mandated to follow the rules and the law. It is in the public interest that warden’s willful defiance of a court order be sanctioned,” she stressed.
Baylosis was to participate in the scheduled preliminary meetings and formal talks in The Netherlands and Norway earlier this month as a member of the NDFP’s Ceasefire Committee.
The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process as well as the Department of Justice has reportedly posed no objection to the PILC’s petition for bail for Baylosis to allow him to negotiate the aborted coordinated unilateral ceasefire (CUC) between the NDFP and GRP.
Baylosis has been part of the peace negotiations in various capacities since 1996.
Arrested with a companion in Quezon City last February, Baylosis is facing charges of illegal possession of firearm and explosive at RTC Quezon City, Branch 100.
Pastores said the charges are trumped up by the Philippine National Police. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)