Groups denounced the arrest of National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultant Adelberto Silva and companions by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Sta. Cruz, Laguna Monday afternoon, October 15.
In separate statements, the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and Bayan Muna through its Representative to the House of Representatives Karlos Ysagani Zarate said Silva’s arrest with four others is part of the Rodrigo Duterte government’s ongoing witch hunt against progressives.
Silva, along with trade union organizer Irineo Aradero, Gabriela Women’s Party consultant in the House of Representatives Hedda Calderon, farmer Edisel Legaspi, and their hired driver were blocked and arrested by PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) operatives at two o’clock yesterday afternoon, the KMU said.
“At gunpoint, they were ordered to alight their vehicle. The arresting military and policemen did not read [them] their rights as civilians,” KMU said.
Atadero, Legaspi, and Calderon are activists from their respective sectors who were reportedly set to conduct a consultation with peace consultant Silva on the status and prospects of the proposed Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER).
As with other NDFP consultants and activists arrested by government forces since Duterte ended peace negotiations with the Left last November, the PNP and the AFP said Silva and companions were carrying grenades and firearms.
Illegal possession of firearms and explosive prevent those charged from petitioning and posting bail.
“The five were made to lie on the ground while members of the arresting team planted firearms and hand grenades in their vehicle,” the labor federation said.
Zarate also denounced Silva’s arrest with his four companions.
“Instead of resuming the peace negotiations in order for the root causes of the armed conflict to be addressed, this is what the Duterte administration does,” Zarate told Kodao.
The progressive solon cited that the Committee on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity approved House Resolution 2065 to resume the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the NDFP.
“[B]ut, apparently, Malacañan is deaf to the demands of the people,” the Davao-based legislator said.
“Many solons signed this resolution in the hope that [the] peace talks can continue because many have already been accomplished and it should not be wasted,” he added.
Silva is vice-chairperson of the NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms and was instrumental in crafting the National Industrialization and Economic Development document with their GRP counterparts.
He has participated in formal peace talks abroad as well as local meetings since his release from prison in 2016.
As NDFP consultant, Silva is supposedly immune from surveillance, arrest and harassment under the GRP-NDFP Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)