National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief peace negotiator Fidel Agcaoili called for the release of Adelberto Silva who was arrested with four others Monday afternoon by Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) forces in Sta. Cruz, Laguna.
“It’s a big setback on the peace process and the NDFP calls on the GRP to release the five detainees,” Agcaoili told Kodao.
Agcaoili said they strongly condemn the arrest of a “leading member” of the NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms in its peace process with the GRP.
He added that Silva has been conducting consultations with representatives of different sectors of society in connection with the prospective Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER).
Agcaoili said that even the GRP is conducting unilateral consultations on the substantive agenda.
The NDFP chief negotiator told Kodao that both sides agreed in June 2018 when the GRP suspended the scheduled resumption of formal talks to study the draft agreements and that the two Parties (GRP and NDFP) would conduct separate and unilateral consultations with the people and their respective constituencies on the progress of the talks.
President Rodrigo Duterte cancelled the fifth round of formal talks for the fifth time in June in order for him to “study the documents” forged by GRP negotiators with the NDFP.
Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza also said that, in cancelling the formal round of talks last June, Duterte wanted to consult the general public he said are part of the “bigger peace table.”
“And they prevent NDFP negotiators who are doing the same,” Agcaoili said.
Silva was arrested with three other activists and their driver by Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the Intelligence Services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The five were taken to the CIDG headquarters in Camp Crame in Quezon City last night.
They have been taken back to Sta. Cruz, Laguna Tuesday afternoon for inquest proceedings on charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
As NDFP peace consultant, Silva is supposedly immune from surveillance, arrest and harassment under the GRP-NDFP Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees.
GRP Negotiating Panel chairperson and labor secretary Silvestre Bello III has yet to respond to Kodao’s requests for a statement.
Bello is reportedly in Al Khobar to meet with overseas Filipino workers in eastern Saudi Arabia. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)