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PNP surfaces NDFP’s Frank Fernandez

The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Army finally surfaced National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant Francisco “Ka Frank” Fernandez after arresting him early Sunday morning and denying he was in their custody to human rights responders.

In a press conference at Camp Crame this morning, PNP chief Oscar Albayalde said Fernandez was arrested in Barangay Calumpang, Liliw, Laguna at 5:15 a.m. Sunday morning and, like five fellow NDFP consultants earlier arrested, was allegedly found to be in possession of firearms, ammunition and grenades.

Fernandez was arrested with his wife Cleofe Lagtapon and Gee-Ann Perez and are facing charges of violation of Commission on Election (Comelec) Resolution 10429 in relation to the Omnibus Election Code as well as violation of Republic Act 10591 (Illegal possession of firearms) and violation of Republic Act 9516 (Illegal possession of explosives), the PNP said.

Three caliber .45 pistols, three magazines with 15 live bullets and three grenades were allegedly found in their possession.

Fernandez also has four standing murder arrest warrants while his wife was included in one of the arrest warrants, the PNP said.

The three are under the custody of the Military Intelligence Group of Calabarzon and are set to face illegal firearms and explosives possession charges, the police added.

Fernandez, a former Roman Catholic priest, was a long-time NDFP spokesperson in Negros Island.

‘Hide and seek’

Human rights group Karapatan, however, slammed the PNP for withholding the three’s whereabouts for more than a day despite asking various police and military camps in Region IV-A and the National Capital Region.

“Legal counsel and paralegals went to Camp Vicente Lim in Canlubang, Laguna; Camp Paciano Rizal in Sta. Cruz, Laguna; Laguna Provincial Police Office and Municipal Police Office in Sta. Cruz, Laguna; Camp Crame in Quezon City; and Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City. Military and police officers denied having the three in their custody,” Karapatan said in a statement.

“This morning of March 25, legals counsels and paralegals went to the ISAFP Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City; NBI National Office in Manila; and Camp Crame, Quezon City. The same answer was given to them,” the group added.

Karapatan said it was only after further prodding that unidentified officials revealed that the three arrested persons were in the Army General Hospital in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City.

Karapatan said that lawyers and paralegals should have access to those arrested, particularly the elderly couple Fernandez and Lagtapon, aged 71 and 66, respectively.

Fernandez and his wife are reportedly in Laguna to seek medical treatment.

Karapatan raised the possibility that the three might be subjected to physical and psychological torture, a reported practice of state forces during arrests.

“Access of lawyers to the victims on time and ascertaining the responsible units and officers are a deterrent to the ill-treatment of arrested persons,” Karapatan said.

The group said the police and the military deliberately played a game of hide and seek, instead of directly giving the whereabouts of the detainees to their legal counsels, as mandated by Republic Act 7438 or the rights of persons arrested, detained or under custodial investigation law.

‘Ordered by Duterte’

NDFP’s chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison, for his part, condemned yet another allegation by the police that its latest arrested peace consultant and companions were in possession of guns and ammunition at the time of their arrest.

“Following the orders publicly given by their master (President Rodrigo) Duterte, the criminals in uniform always plant firearms and frame up NDFP consultants,” Sison told Kodao.

Sison said that planting such false evidence is the police’s way of violating the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) between the NDFP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.

Sison said that when there are no witnesses, so-called “criminals in authority” kill NDFP consultants as in the case of Randy Felix Malayao.

Malayao was killed in his sleep inside a bus in Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya last January 30.

Sison said the planting of firearms is meant to justify also the arrest of people or witnesses who are in the company of the NDFP consultant.

NDFP peace consultants Rafael Baylosis, Adelberto Silva, Vicente Ladlad, Rey Claro Casambre and Reynante Gamarahave been arrested in succession from January 2018 and all were charged with illegal possession of firearms along with their respective companions.

“In the first place, they are even supposed not to surveil NDFP consultants under JASIG,” Sison explained.

New presidential adviser on the peace process Carlito Galvez Jr., however, said last Wednesday the JASIG is no longer operable since Duterte terminated the talks in November 2017.

“[T]he formal negotiation was terminated along with Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) through Proclamation 360 by President Rodrigo Duterte on November 2017,” Galvez said in a statement.

The NDFP, however, said the JASIG is still in effect.

“The safety and immunity guarantees for NDFP consultants are continuing even in case of breakdown or termination of the peace negotiations,” Sison said.

Baylosis was released last January 18 after the Quezon City Regional Trial Court dismissed charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives against him. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Youngest NDFP consultant talks about Luis Jalandoni’s contributions to the peace process

Watch and listen to NDFP Negotiating Panel’s Felix Randy Malayao, the youngest among its peace consultants, talk about recently resigned chief peace negotiator Luis Jalandoni’s most important contributions to the peace process in his more than 20 years on the negotiating table. Read more

Veteran negotiator to lead Duterte’s peace panel with Reds

(Photo by Bulatlat.com)

(Photo by Bulatlat.com)

Former justice secretary Silvestre Bello III is “greatly honored” to again be the Philippine government’s chief negotiator with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

While clarifying that he still needs to be formally notified by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Bello said that he is keen on accepting the challenge again to talk peace with the NDFP.

Bello said that the congratulatory messages that he has been receiving since Duterte made the announcement in Davao City this afternoon are still premature.

“I still have to ask our future president the extent of power he will grant the new government negotiating panel,” Bello said.

Critical of the Benigno Aquino government’s peace negotiations style with the NDFP, Bello said he will push for honoring signed agreements between the Manila government and the rebel groups.

“Who would seriously negotiate with us if we fail to honor our commitments?” Bello asked.

Aquino’s peace adviser Teresita Deles called The Hague Joint Declaration (THJD) that laid the parameters of the peace negotiations between the NDFP and the Manila government as a “document of perpetual division.”

Deles also taunted the NDFP whenever the latter demanded the release of its peace consultants under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees or Jasig.

Both THJD and Jasig were milestone agreements hammered with Bello as key member of the government panels under former President Fidel Ramos.

“I think President Aquino was only interested in negotiating with Moro Islamic Liberation Front.  He did not have the same vigor in dealing with the NDFP,” Bello said.

Bello also said that he will push for the release of NDFP peace consultants.

“If it can be established that they are involved in the negotiations either as consultants, staff or security personnel, they should be released under the Jasig,” Bello said.

Bello said he is thinking of asking former Commission on Elections commissioner Rene Sarmiento, former Alaminos mayor Hernani Braganza and Atty Sedfrey Candelaria of the Ateneo de Manila University to join him as negotiating panel members.

NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison welcomed Duterte’s reappointment of Bello as chief negotiator.

“I think that Bebot Bello is an excellent choice of the (incoming) President as chief negotiator with the NDFP,” Sison said.

“We know him because we worked with him in producing major agreements, especially the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (Carhrihl),” Sison added.

Sison said that the NDFP welcomes Bello’s statement that all the existing agreements must be respected and the possible release of all the 562 political prisoners who have been imprisoned on false charges of common crimes.

The rebel leader also commended Bello in seeking from the president (Duterte) the widest latitude for the success of the peace negotiations.

Asked to comment on possible panel members Bello mentioned, Sison said that it is up to him to compose his panel.

“He has mentioned highly qualified prospects,” Sison said of Sarmiento, Braganza and Candelaria.

Bello said that he hopes that the root causes of the armed conflict will again be addressed in the negotiations.

“Being able to sign agreements with the NDFP is one thing, but real success would come only when our people’s extreme poverty and the perception that our government is corrupt are eliminated,” Bello said. (Raymund B Villanueva)

 

 

 

 

 

Revolutionary women’s organization celebrate NPA’s anniversary

Members of the underground revolutionary group Makabayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan (Makibaka) held a “lightning rally” last March 17 in downtown Manila to mark the coming 47th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ New People’s Army (NPA).

Makibaka said it is right for women to join the revolution to emancipate themselves from poverty and other abuses as well as help in liberating Philippine society.

Members of the Philippine National Police were surprised as the women revolutionaries gathered and marched on the narrow streets of Manila’s Binondo area.

The NPA was founded in Tarlac Province in March 29, 1969 and has since been waging one of the world’s longest-running Maoist guerilla war.

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VIDEO: Northeastern Mindanao celebrates CPP 47th founding anniversary

Despite checkpoints by the Philippine Army and threats by a paramilitary group that it will kill attendees, thousands of members, supporters and invited guests attended the grand Communist Party of the Philippines 47th founding anniversary celebrations in Northeastern Mindanao last December 26.

Here is a video of the singing of the communist hymn “Ang Internasyunal” led by a company  of New People’s Army fighters.

NDFP-Mindanao on the CPP’s 47th anniversary (w/ English subtitles)

National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Mindanao spokesperson Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos delivers their statement on the 47th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Madlos says the New People’s Army in Mindanao has doubled its tactical offensives against the Armed Forces of the Philippines from 250 in 2010 to more than 500 in 2015 as the Benigno Aquino administration is about to end. He also announced that the NPA has increased its guerrilla fronts from 40 in 2010 to 46 in 2015. Furthermore, NPA operations has increased from 1,850 barrios in 2010 to 2,500 barrios in 2015.

Madlos did not attend the anniversary celebrations held in Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte because of the heavy military presence in the adjacent Zapanta Valley. Philippine Army checkpoints did not deter the thousands of guests from attending the celebrations, however.

Revolutionary orgs stage lightning rally on eve of APEC

REVOLUTIONARY ORGANIZATIONS under the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) staged a “lightning rally” as world leaders are due to arrive in the country for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit starting Monday.

Hundreds of revolutionaries marched on Manila’s crowded downtown area to condemn APEC as an imposition on poor countries like the Philippines.

“(We) vigorously condemn the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) as an imperialist instrument of plunder and greed,” the NDFP National Council said in a statement.

“The Filipino people have long suffered under the economic policies and multilateral agreements aggressively pushed by the APEC which have only ensured the interests of the advanced capitalist economies, especially that of the United States,” the underground alliance said.

Police officers in the area were caught flat-footed by the swift mobilization, which proceeded to march from the Carriedo area and dispersed at the corner of Recto Avenue and Quezon Boulevard.

The Benigno Aquino government has been implementing street-clearing operations and raising security alerts as it welcomes heads of states from dozens of countries, including United States president Barack Obama.

The revolutionaries distributed leaflets and painted slogans on walls as many of bystanders—mostly ambulant vendors—cheered from the sidelines.

The NDFP and its allied organizations are waging a “national democratic revolution” for nearly five decades, said to be the longest running revolution in Asia. #