Retired NDFP consultant ‘abducted’ in Parañaque

A “retired” National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant was “abducted” with four others in Parañaque City, human rights group Karapatan’s Southern Tagalog office reported.

In an alert, Karapatan-Southern Tagalog said retired NDFP peace consultant Ernesto Lorenzo, along with Maria Fe Serrano, their driver Andrei Medina, their aide Plinky Longhas and another unidentified person, were “abducted” by the police while queuing up for COVID-19 vaccines at the Nayong Pilipino mega-vaccination site.

Ernesto Lorenzo attending a rally by Filipino migrant workers in Rome, Italy during a break in the third formal round of peace negotiations between the GRP and the NDFP in January 2017. (Photo by Jola Diones-Mamangun/Kodao)

Lorenzo, the group said, is a Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) protected peace negotiator with identification number 978299 under the assumed name of Lean Martinez.

The JASIG, signed by the NDFP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) in February 24, 1995, supposedly guarantees that negotiators, personnel and consultants of both the NDFP and the Manila government are immune against reprisals, including surveillance and arrests.

Lorenzo was consultant for Southern Tagalog and attended formal peace negotiations between the NDFP and the Rodrigo Duterte GRP up to January 2017.

He was a member of the NDFP Negotiating Panel’s Reciprocal Working Group on End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces.

Lorenzo was earlier arrested in July 2015 on charges of destructive arson but was released along with several other jailed NDFP consultants to participate in formal negotiations in Europe.

President Duterte terminated negotiations with the NDFP in 2017 and has since repeatedly vowed to arrest all NDFP consultants who were released for the talks.

Serrano is the widow of former NDFP peace consultant for Mindoro Eduardo Serrano who died in prison in January 2016.

Karapatan-Southern Tagalog said the five’s whereabouts are unknown as of the issuance of its alert.

Davao consultant ‘tortured and murdered’

Meanwhile, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) complained that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) tortured and subsequently murdered NDFP peace consultant for Southern Mindanao Ezequiel Daguman.

CPP chief information officer Marco Valbuena said Daguman was the 20th known revolutionary and peace consultant murdered by the GRP under Duterte.

Valbuena, in an April 2 statement, said Daguman was killed while in the custody of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) after he was abducted last March 7 in New Corella, Davao del Norte.

The AFP announced on March 28 that Daguman was killed in a supposed encounter on March 27 in Maragusan, Davao de Oro.

The CPP said that Daguman was assigned as the peace consultant representing the provinces of Davao del Norte and Davao de Oro whose JASIG identification was signed by the Manila government and the NDFP in 1995.

Valbuena added that Daguman’s death in the hands of government soldiers is proof that he “remained true to the revolutionary cause.”

“The AFP has repeatedly used fake encounters to justify and cover-up the most atrocious crimes against non-combatants and civilians,” Valbuena said, pointing to how NPA spokesperson Jorge Madlos and national commander Menandro Villanueva were also killed by military forces after being arrested.

Both Madlos and Villanueva were reportedly seeking medical care at the time the AFP claimed they died in firefights with government soldiers.

Valbuena added that NDFP peace consultant Edwin Alcid, together with two others, remains at the hands of the AFP and his whereabouts are still unknown since his arrest last March 7 in Barangay San Jose, Catubig, Northern Samar.

“We will hold the officers of the AFP directly responsible for any harm that may befall Alcid and his companions,” Valbuena said.

Valbuena also revealed that they have received information that NDFP peace consultant Esteban Manuel is being kept in solitary confinement in a military camp in Samar after his arrest last February. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)