A National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant was arrested by combined police, military and intelligence agents Wednesday night two days after President Rodrigo Duterte dissolved his government’s negotiating panel with the Left.
Renante Gamara, NDFP peace consultant for the National Capital Region, was arrested by the Regional Special Operations Unit of the National Capital Region Police Office-Philippine National Police, Philippine Army and intelligence agents last night and was first brought to Camp General Pantaleon Garcia in Imus, Cavite.
An alert from peasant group Kasama-Timog Katagalugan said Gamara and his captors arrived at the camp at around 10:30 in the evening but left at about 11:06 in the evening.
The group said they have yet to know where Gamara was arrested.
Human rights workers who reportedly tried to check on Gamara were refused entry to the camp and were forced to keep vigil outside the gates throughout last night.
Their pictures were also reportedly taken by police officers.
This morning, a source close to Gamara’s family told Kodao that the peace consultant is currently detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.
Gamara was among the NDFP peace consultant released in August 2016 to participate in formal peace negotiations in Europe.
Gamara’s re-arrest brings to four the number of NDFP peace consultants behind bars.
Adelberto Silva, Vicente Ladlad and Rey Claro Casambre were arrested in succession late last year after repeated attempts to revive the stalled peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDFP failed.
Rafael Baylosis was first arrested in January 2018 but was eventually released last January 18 after the Quezon City Regional Trial Court threw out trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives against him.
Twelve days later, NDFP peace consultant Randy Felix Malayao was killed inside a bus in Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya last January 30.
Last Monday, March 18, Duterte dissolved the GRP Negotiating Panel and fired all its members.
In a statement Wednesday, new Presidential peace adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. said the GRP has suspended the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) that should provide immunity to peace negotiators from arrest and harassment.
The NDFP for its part has repeatedly said that the JASIG remains in place until a month after both parties have mutually and formally agreed to finally end the peace process in accordance with agreed-upon procedures. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)