National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultant Adelberto Silva and four companions were arrested Monday afternoon in Sta. Cruz, Laguna.
Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said that Silva (70), Ediecel Legaspi (60), Ireneo Atadero (55), Hedda De Luna Calderon (63) as well as their driver Julio Lusania (53) were arrested yesterday, October 15, and brought to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group headquarters in Camp Crame in Quezon City.
Palabay said the five may be brought to Sta. Cruz, Laguna today for inquest proceedings.
She added they are still in the process of reconciling varying reports they received on how Silva and company were arrested and on what grounds.
Silva was among the 19 consultants released by the Rodrigo Duterte administration in 2016 to enable their participation in the formal peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDFP.
Silva was eventually designated as the vice-chairperson of the NDFP Negotiating Panel’s Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms.
He was instrumental in the crafting of the draft National Industrialization and Economic Development document initialled by both GRP and NDFP negotiating panel representatives last June.
The GRP and NDFP negotiating panels were set to approve the document as part of the Interim Peace Agreement package that would have also included Agrarian Reform and Rural Development, coordinated unilateral ceasefire and general amnesty documents.
President Duterte, however, cancelled the fifth formal round of talks for the fifth time last June.
Silva was among the 600 personalities included in the list submitted by the Department of Justice to the Manila Regional Trial Court last January in its bid to have the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army proscribed as so-called terrorists.
As an active NDFP peace negotiator, Silva is supposedly protected from arrest, surveillance and harassment under the GRP-NDFP Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)