The negotiating panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) said it will file a complaint against the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) on the reported involuntary disappearance of one of its peace consultants.
NDFP chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili said the disappearance of Lora T. Manipis and her husband Jeruel B. Domingo since February 24 will be a subject of a complaint to be filed with their joint human rights and international humanitarian law monitoring committee with the GRP.
“We expect the GRP to act on [the complaint] together with all the other hindrances [to the resumption of the peace talks],” Agcaoili told Kodao.
The NDFP in Far Southern Mindanao said Minipis and Domingo both vanished without a trace after being seen by witnesses in Kidapawan City. The group said the couple had not made any contact with their family and comrades.
“At the time of their disappearance, they were arranging for activities related to the peace process. They were also actively holding dialogs with indigenous people and peasants who have been affected by the large-scale mining operations of X-trata Mining in Tampakan, South Cotabato,” NDFP said.
Manipis joins other NDFP consultants believed abducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, such as Leo Velasco, Rogelio Calubad, Prudencio Calubid, NDFP staff members Philip Limjoco, Leopoldo Ancheta, and Federico Intise.
“We fear that Manipis and Domingo may have already been executed by intelligence and military operatives, or are suffering from intense torture and other violations of international humanitarian law,” the NDFP said.
Meanwhile, Davao Today reported that Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry Division spokesperson Capt. Jerry Lamosao denied responsibility for the couple’s disappearance.
“If they believe that the Army is responsible, they should have filed a complaint earlier given that if they coordinate with authorities, they can ask for assistance,” Lamosao said.
Agcaoili said they are still checking Manipis’ Document of Identification name with their official list of consultants under the NDFP and GRP’s Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).
The JASIG list was deposited by both the NDFP and the GRP with an unnamed third party in The Netherlands last June.
Consultants included in the JASIG list as well as other persons directly participating in the peace negotiations are guaranteed free movement and freedom from arrest, surveillance, interrogation and similar actions in connection with their involvement or participation in the peace negotiations for the duration of the peace talks.
Immunities cover acts, statements, materials, information and data made during or resulting from the peace negotiations.
The 2017 list, encrypted in Universal Serial Bus (USB) flash disks and backed up in a Security Drive (SD), contains photographs and the real identities of NDFP peace consultants who are still underground, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)