NDFP peace consultant Suaybaguio walks free

National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant Esterlita Suaybaguio walked to freedom at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) offices at past 5 pm Friday afternoon, cleared of charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

With no available Quezon City barangay available to witness her release by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, the CHR agreed to be the venue of the process yesterday.

BJMP and CHR personnel complete the process to release NDFP peace consultant Esterlita Suaybagio last September 17. (Photy by Defend Jobs Philippines)

Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 219 judge Janet Abegos-Samar acquitted the women’s rights advocate of charges stemming from a search warrant issued by controversial QC executive judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert in 2019.

Suaybagio, alleged by the military as a high-ranking officer of the Communist Party of the Philippines, was arrested in an apartment building in Cubao, Quezon City early morning of August 26, 2019.

Suaybaguio told the court police officers pushed and pinned her to the sink after storming in, preventing her from viewing the commotion inside her apartment.

The activist said she was shocked to learn later that a police officer had allegedly found a 9MM firearm and a hand grenade inside her bag.

Suaybaguio’s acquittal was a triumph over government’s policy of trumped-up charges against activists, particularly NDFP peace consultants, her lawyers from the Public Interest Law Center (PILC) said.

“Her acquittal adds to the victory in a string of cases against activists which have been recently dismissed…We hope the dismissal of other fabricated charges (against other political prisoners) will follow,” the PILC said.

The law center noted similar warrants issued by Burgos-Villavert against journalist Lady Ann Salem and NDFP Negotiating Panel staff members Alexander and Winona Marie Birondo have been dismissed earlier.

Burgos-Villavert has been accused by rights defenders as a “warrant factory” after meeting with former police general Debold Sinas and subsequently issuing warrants used by the police to arrest activists.

The most controversial warrant issued by the judge was used to arrest women’s rights activist Reina Mae Nasino in 2020, who was then 7 months pregnant. Nasino gave birth while in detention to her child River who died weeks later. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NDFP demands Loida Magpatoc’s release

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Negotiating Panel demanded the release of its peace consultant arrested by the military and the police in Quezon, Bukidnon on Wednesday, September 15.

NDFP Negotiating Panel interim chairperson Julie de Lima said Loida Magpatoc is a member of the NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reform and should be immune from arrest.

“[S]he is a member of the NDFP Negotiating Panel, by virtue of which she is protected by the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines)-NDFP Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).  She should therefore be released,” de Lima told Kodao.

Magpatoc was reported arrested by a composite team of the 88th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, the Quezon Philippine National Police and the military’s intelligence units in Purok 3, Barangay Paitan in Quezon town.

An old warrant issued by Branch 7 of the Bayugan (Agusan del Sur) Regional Trial Court on September 3, 2001, was reportedly used for her arrest.

A Rappler report said the same warrant was used when Magpatoc was first arrested in July 2013.

The same report said the military alleged that Magpatoc is head of the New People’s Army’s Far South Mindanao Committee.

Last May 13, the GRP’s Anti-Terrorism Council named Magpatoc and 18 others as members of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ Central Committee.

Loida Magpatoc (right, wearing a black jacket) during the GRP-NDFP’s 3rd formal round of Negotiations in Rome, Italy in January 2017. (Kodao file photo)

Land reform and rural development expert

Magpatoc was among the NDFP peace consultants released in August 2016 by President Rodrigo Duterte to be able to participate in the resumption of formal peace negotiations between the GRP and the NDFP.

Then government chief negotiator Silvestre Bello III told Kodao they working to release Magpatoc and nine others through the JASIG.

Magpatoc was present during the negotiations’ third formal round in Rome, Italy in January 2017 when both parties agreed on free land distribution for poor farmers, a high point in the negotiations.

De Lima said Magpatoc is an expert on land reform and rural development who helped draft the NDFP’s version of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms with fellow peace consultant Randall Echanis and others.

Echanis was brutally murdered in August 2020 in Quezon City.

De Lima said that in the NDFP Negotiating Panel’s subcommittee on land reform and rural development, Magpatoc and Echanis were most active in advancing peasant rights and welfare.

“We call on the Filipino people to demand her immediate release. We call on all peace loving people’s to campaign for her freedom, together with all political prisoners,” de Lima said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Groups slam school’s decision to turn over peace books to military

Groups slammed the reported decision of a state university to turn over copies of Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace negotiation books to the military and the police.

Pilgrims for Peace, ACT for Peace and the Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP) said the decision by the Kalinga State University (KSU) was a move for the mis-education of students about the peace negotiations between the parties.

In a statement last Saturday, September 11, Pilgrims for Peace said it is deeply concerned about the decision of the KSU Board of Regents (BoR) to withdraw from its Bulanao Campus Library 11 books on the peace negotiations between the Manila government and the NDFP.

The books include the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHIHL) English-Filipino; CARHIHL English-Hiligaynon; CARHIHL English-Visaya; GRP-NDFP Declaration of Understanding; NDFP Declaration and Program of Action for the Rights, Protection, and Welfare of Children; and The GRP NDFP Peace Negotiations: Major Arguments and Joint Statements-September 1, 1980-June 2018.

Also included were The GRP-NDFP Peace Negotiations Major Written Agreements and Outstanding Issues; NDF Adherence to International Humanitarian Law; Letters to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the UN Secretary-General; NDFP Adherence to International Humanitarian Law: On Prisoners of War (POWs); two articles on The People’s Struggles for Just Peace; and The NDFP Reciprocal Worrying Committee (RWC) Respective on Social and Economic Reforms.

The books were published by the NDFP Nominated Section of the Joint Secretariat of the CARHRIHL Joint Monitoring Committee based at the Diocese of Cubao in Quezon City.

“[T]he university administration has practically surrendered its academic freedom to the state security agencies that have constantly undermined our people’s quest for a just and lasting peace,” the group said.

Pilgrims for Peace added KSU’s “dismaying” decision was blind allegiance to the “myopic anti-insurgency campaign” of the Rodrigo Duterte administration.

“As a result, these university officials are now [instruments] in the state’s efforts to vilify not only the NDFP but also those who fight for academic freedom, human rights, and just peace,” the group’s statement said, also signed by ACT for Peace and the SCMP.

The groups added that the school has become complicit in the vicious red-tagging campaigns against by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict that has led to extra-judicial killings, unjust searches and illegal arrests, and a host of other human rights violations.

The Manila Times reported last September 9 that the KSU-BoR has decided to withdraw the books from one of its libraries to “protect students from embracing ‘NDFP ideology.’

The report said the military has lauded the decision.

The peace advocates however urged university officials to rethink their decision and study the books.

The groups noted that CARHRIHL has been hailed by the European Parliament as a “landmark” agreement and an outstanding achievement of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, along with the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees.

“These materials are readily available online, with different sites hosting them, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Nations Peacemaker website,” they added.

“We encourage them to study the peace negotiations between the GRP and the NDFP. Furthermore, study the roots of poverty and political unrest in the country,” the groups said.

Higher Education commissioner and KSU-BoR chairperson Lilian de las Llagas has yet to respond to Kodao’s request for comment.

Commission on Higher Education chairperson Prospero de Vera was involved as GRP Negotiating Panel adviser immediately prior to his appointment to his current position. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Groups describe as ‘prank’ Duterte’s amnesty offer to Leftists

Political detainees as well as human rights groups and lawyers slammed as “prank” the Rodrigo Duterte government’s offer of amnesty to Leftist political prisoners, designed to prevent future peace negotiations from happening.

In a statement read in a recent online forum, six political prisoners condemned Proclamation 1093 offering amnesty to suspected and convicted Leftist rebels as an instrument of “continuing oppression.”

“Proclamation 1093 will not provide genuine amnesty. This cannot be the means for the release of political prisoners,” detained National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultants Vicente Ladlad, Rey Casambre, Ferdinand Castillo, Frank Fernandez, Reynante Gamara and Adelberto Silva said.

President Duterte signed last February 16 proclamations 1090, 1091, 1092 and 1093 granting amnesty to suspected Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Mangagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP-RPA-ABB) and “Communist Terrorist Group” members, respectively.

The House of Representatives concurred under its Concurrent Resolution No. 15 approved last May 19, but the Senate has yet to react to the edicts.

In a statement, Kapatid said that while political prisoners are not closing the door to a grant of amnesty, it is “…totally unjust that those foisted with false charges will own up to crimes they did not commit just to be able to leave prison.”

Kapatid said that for the political prisoners, Proclamation 1093 that refers to Leftist rebels is “fake” and a “trap” because:

1. Amnesty will be granted only to “rebels” who had surrendered or those referred to as “rebel returnees;”

2. It will not be granted to most political prisoners who were arrested, detained, charged with or convicted of trumped-up criminal charges since they did not surrender;

3. It will not cover those who have been proscribed and charged and convicted under the Human Security Act of 2007 and the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020;

4. It puts the burden on political prisoners to prove that the crimes they supposedly committed were in furtherance of their political beliefs; and

5. The applicant must admit, in writing and under oath, their guilt on charges they are criminally liable for although the charges are falsified.

Kapatid said the political prisoners also condemned the use of the term “communist terrorist group” to “disparage and degrade the political standing” of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New People’s Army (NPA) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

The Duterte government has designated the three revolutionary organizations as terrorists in separate proclamations in 2017 and this year.

National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers president Edre Olalia said Proclamation 1093’s intention is suspect for its description of its supposed beneficiaries.

 “[T]he premise, framework, and implication of the use of the term ‘communist terrorist group’ render this kind of amnesty patently objectionable and unacceptable, legally and politically,” Olalia said.

“It is practically an institutionalized self-flagellation and it demeans political prisoners, using the dangle of inchoate freedom and the seduction of material bribery,” the human rights lawyer said.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate noted that the amnesty being offered to Leftists are unlike those offered to the MILF, MNLF and the RPMP-RPA-ABB that were outcomes of peace agreements.

“[W]e should remember that this regime ended the peace negotiations. The amnesty is in fact based on Executive Order No. 70 – the government order which ended peace negotiations, justified imprisonment of activists, and paved the way for killing human rights defenders,” the legislator noted.

“The government said that it will no longer engage with peace negotiations but they are saying now that localized peace negotiations were held for former rebels to be granted amnesty. This amnesty proclamation is a ploy to totally prevent peace talks from transpiring,” Zarate, also a human rights lawyer, added.

The six detained NDFP peace consultants said they insist on “general, unconditional and omnibus amnesty.”

“General amnesty means it covers all political prisoners and other political offenders according to a pre-screened list. Unconditional amnesty means no preconditions will be imposed on political prisoners before they are set free. Omnibus amnesty means it will cover all court cases of political prisoners,” the detainees said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)


Peace worker Randy P. Malayao would have turned 52 years old today had he not been assassinated in his sleep in January 2019. A victim of state terrorism many times over, he still sought peace by being a member of the Reciprocal Working Group on Political and Constitutional Reforms of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in its negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.

Here is how he described his torture in 2007 at the hands of the military.

KMP: Gov’t anti-insurgency drive targets farmers, people’s organizations

The Rodrigo Duterte government targets and forces farmers to pose as surrenderers and be counted as trophies in its anti-insurgency campaign, an investigation by a farmers’ group revealed.

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said a nationwide profiling campaign is ongoing against farmers, many of whom are later listed and presented as surrendered New People’s Army (NPA) members or supporters by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). 

The KMP said the attacks on the peasant sector was affirmed by its series of online fact-finding activities with campaign group Tanggol Magsasaka on farmers, leaders, and other residents in 11 provinces nationwide from July to August.

More than 70 victims gave their testimonies and affidavits on over a hundred cases of human rights abuses perpetrated by state forces, KMP said.

The groups’ first ever online fact-finding activity was aimed to “expose the Duterte regime’s dirty and brutal war targeting farmers, to silence their collective struggle for land, economic reforms, and social justice. “

The fact-finding mission was held just as President Duterte bragged in his last State of the Nation Address last July 26 that about 17,000 NPA members have already surrendered to government forces.

“More than 17,000 former communist rebels have surrendered to the government. They have returned to the fold of the law and are happily reintegrating to the community,” Duterte said.

The President added his administration’s projects such as farm-to-market roads, livelihood, education and sanitation were able to destroy 15 NPA fronts, which he did not identify.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) however laughed at the President’s claim, pointing out past military claims the NPA has no more than 4,000 fighters left.

“”Fifteen guerrilla fronts dismantled? Dream on, Duterte. Si Gen. Hermogenes Esperon ng NTF-ELCAC nagsabi, mahigit daw 4,000 noong June ang NPA mula 3,700 noong December,” CPP information officer Marco Valbuena said.


The KMP said many of those claimed by NTF-ELCAC’s to be surrenderers were civilians, including farmers, farm workers, peasant leaders, rural women and youth, and fisher folk.

“[T]he majority of these so-called surrenderers are civilians — ordinary farmers who were either coerced, forced, or duped into ‘surrendering’ to the government,” the KMP said.

The group said that based on initial findings of its online investigation, red-tagging, threat, harassment, and intimidation are the most common forms of abuse by state forces.

Other instances of abuses include:

* Home and farm “intimidation visits” by police, military, and intelligence agents;

* “Forced presentation” of peasant leaders, farmers, and civilians to village authorities and Philippine Army camps to have their names “cleared”; and

* Forced attendance in village meetings organized by the military to be “lectured” on counterinsurgency. 

KMP said that individuals targeted for forced surrender were intimidated to sign document denouncing local organization and the CPP-NPA-NDFP alleged as “Communist Terrorist Groups.”  

The group’s accusations mirror the December 2019 Philippine Army admission it manipulated a photo to show a group of so-called NPA surrenderers in Masbate province.

The Philippine Army photo it released to the media that it also later admitted was manipulated.

Automatic NPA supporters

The KMP revealed government forces automatically accuse local peasant organizations and associations supporters of the NPA or have links and relations to the CPP, NPA and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). 

“Farmers and rural populations in localities are often red-tagged as members of the so-called Milisyang Bayan and Sangay ng Partido sa Lokalidad. Legitimate peasant organizations engaged in farm campaigns, campaigns for land reform, against land-grabbing, against high land rent, and other forms of feudal exploitation are always and automatically red-tagged and vilified by state forces,” KMP said.

The group added its affiliates as well as those of other peasant organizations have been red-tagged, including Danggayan, Dagami, Kaguimungan, UMA-Isabela, AMIHAN-Ambi, PIGLAS and CLAIM in Quezon, AMB in Bulacan, KMB, BCPAI, and LAMBAT in Bicol, and local organizations of farmers in Cavite, Camarines Sur, Albay, Iloilo, and Capiz. 

“In the course of the comprehensive and sustained forced surrender campaigns, state forces, and authorities use varied forms ranging from persuasion, deception, fraud, subterfuge, suppression, coercion, and outright use of force and violence,” the KMP said.

It added the government’s counter-insurgency campaign takes full advantage to enforce more restrictions in peasant communities, making peasant communities and villages virtual military garrisons. 

The group said its fact-finding mission will continue in the coming weeks to further probe the situation in other regions and provinces. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Joma, peace advocates: ATC move vs. NDFP ‘diabolical’, to worsen armed conflict

National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison described their group’s designation as “terrorist” by the Rodrigo Duterte government as “diabolical”, aimed at not just further closing every possibility of resuming peace negotiations but to kill more of their consultants and resource persons.

READ: GRP designates NDFP as ‘terrorist organization’

Reacting to the Anti-Terrorism Council’s (ATC) June 23 resolution designating the NDFP as a terrorist organization, Sison said the government clearly intends to:

  • Close further every possibility of resuming the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations at least for the duration that Duterte is in power,
  • Harass, silence, arrest or even kill the NDFP consultants and resource persons and others involved in the peace negotiations and target even the broad range of peace advocates, critics and oppositionists,
  • Allow Duterte to control and rig the 2022 elections, stay in power together with (Davao City Mayor) Sara and prevent his (Duterte’s) arrest for crimes against humanity on the prospective warrant that may be issued by the International Criminal Court, and
  • Pave a wider path for the Duterte regime to declare martial law and impose a fascist dictatorship on the people either before the anticipated 2022 elections or after this is rigged in order to preempt the 1986 type of people’s uprising.

“The diabolical purpose of the Duterte regime in designating the NDFP as terrorist cannot be understated because this has been preceded by the murder of NDFP consultants committed so flagrantly by Duterte death squads,” Sison said.

In its Resolution No. 21 (2021) issued last June 23, the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) designated the NDFP as a terrorist organization/association, saying the group is “an integral and inseparable part of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA).”

Sison cited the murder of Randy Malayao, Randall Echanis, couple Agaton Topacio and Eugenia Magpantay, couple Antonio Cabanatan and Florenda Yap, Reynaldo Bocala and Rustico Tan as proof the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) is into killing NDFP consultants.

The victims were killed after Duterte ordered the GRP Negotiating Panel to walk away from the peace negotiations in mid-2017.

Sison also cited the arrest of NDFP consultants Adelberto Silva, Rey Casambre, Vicente Ladlad, Renante Gamara, Ferdinand Castillo  and others who have been arrested and imprisoned on so-called trumped up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

He added that the designation is “at war” with basic principles of international humanitarian law on the legitimate status, rights and character of national liberation movements such as those by the NDFP.

‘War hawks to blame’

A group of peace advocates blames so-called war hawks in the ATC for NDFP’s designation as terrorist.

The group Pilgrims for Peace (PfP) said GRP’s move bodes ill for human rights, democracy and the quest for peace under the Duterte administration.

“The war hawks are hell-bent on killing peace negotiations and instead pursuing all-out war in the government counterinsurgency program as well as casting a wide net of suppression against all opposition and dissent through state terror as embodied in the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020,” the group in a statement said.

PfP said the designation can only intensify the “nefarious red-baiting/ terrorist-tagging by the National Task Force-End Local Communist Armed Conflict, with dire implications on and further deterioration of the human rights situation and constriction of democratic space in the country.”

The group added the designation directly contravenes a basic tenet of peace advocacy: addressing the roots of the armed conflict through earnest peace negotiations.

“[B]y designating those who have stepped forward to engage in peace negotiations as ‘terrorist,’ the Duterte administration is blatantly acting against the principle and practice of peace building,” PfP said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

GRP designates NDFP as ‘terrorist organization’

The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) has added the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to its list of terrorist organizations, dashing what remains of hopes for the resumption of formal peace negotiations between the parties.

In its Resolution No. 21 (2021) issued last June 23, the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) has designated the NDFP as a terrorist organization/association, saying the group is “an integral and inseparable part of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA).”

The designation was signed by ATC chairperson and executive secretary Salvador Medialdea and council vice-chairperson and national security adviser Hermogenes Esperon.

“[The] NDFP is organized, controlled, acting on behalf of or at the direction of, and operated by the (CPP), a designated terrorist organization, association and/or group of persons under ATC Resolution No. 12 (2020),” the ATC said.

The Council said the NDFP is the last of three major components, along with the CPP and the NPA, that provides support to the armed and organizational expansion of the Communist movement in the country.

Founded in April 1973, the NDFP describes itself as “[A] revolutionary united front organization of the Filipino people fighting for national freedom and for the democratic rights of the people.

“The NDFP seeks to develop and coordinate all progressive classes, sectors and forces in the Filipino people’s struggle to end the rule of US imperialism and its local allies of big landlords and compradors, and attain national and social liberation,” its website says.

Aside from the CPP and the NPA, the NDFP has at least 15 other “revolutionary allied organizations” and is present in 70 out of the country’s 81 provinces.

Since 1992, the NDFP has been holding peace talks with the GRP to “address the roots of the armed conflict.”

After two years of fruitful negotiations across four formal rounds in three countries in Europe from 2016 to 2017, President Duterte walked away from the process and has since designated the CPP and NPA as so-called terrorists.

Observers said NDFP’s exclusion from GRP’s list of terrorist organizations provides hope that it is still open to resuming negotiations with the underground group.

NDFP officials have yet to respond to requests for comment on this development. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Itanong Mo Kay Prof: Masbate Incident at CARHRIHL

Panayam kay Prof. Jose Maria Sison ng Kodao Productions, sa pamamagitan ni Prof. Sarah Raymundo, hinggil sa insidente sa Masbate at ang bisa ng CARHRIHL.

June 22, 2021

Sarah: Magandang araw sa lahat ng ating mga tagapakinig, nagbabalik ang Itanong Mo Kay Prof, kasama natin ang Chair Emeritus ng International League of Peoples’ Struggle at NDFP Chief Political Consultant na si Prop. Jose Maria Sison. Magandang araw, Prof Sison, at maraming salamat sa pagkakataong makapanayam kayong muli para sa isang napakahalagang usapin na may kinalaman sa kondukta ng pakikibakang armado ng rebolusyonaryong hukbo sa Pilipinas ang NPA, paritukular ang nangyari sa Masbate.

JMS: Maalab na makabayang pagbati sa iyo Prop. Raymundo, sa Kodao at sa lahat ng ating tagapakinig.

Sarah: Sa ngalan ng Itanong Mo Kay Prof, nagpapaabot po ako ng taos-pusong pakikiramay sa pamilya ng mga nasawi nating kababayan at nakikiisa po ang aming programa sa pakikidalamhati sa ating mga kababayan sa trahedyang ito.

Sa panayam na ito, sisikapin nating makuha ang suri at ilang resolusyon ng NDFP batay sa mga naaangkop na mga dokumentong may lokal at internasyonal na saklaw na nakatuon sa mga sirkumstansya ng gerang sibil są mga bansang tulad ng Pilipinas kung saan may pwersang nagsusulong ng rebolusyonaryong pakikibaka para sa pambansang paglaya.

Halina at alamin natin ang kahalagahan ng Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC), ang Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL), ang The Hague Declaration, at ng Ottawa Treaty. At kung bakit Usaping Kapayapaan ang pinanawagan ng mga taong-simbahan at iba pang grupo na nagtatanggol sa karapatang pantao, matapos maisapubliko ng insidente na hindi naman itinanggi kundi agad namang inako ng CPP-NPA. Bilang founding Chair ng CPP, ano kaya ang pagtingin ni Prop. Sison sa isyung ito?

Mga Tanong:

1. Ano ang masasabi nyo Prof Sison sa nangyari sa Masbate na kung saan ay may dalawang sibilyan na namatay dahil sa land mines na ginawa ng mga NPA? Meron na po bang resulta ang imbistigasyon ng CPP/NPA/NDF hinggil dito?

JMS: Isang trahedya na mga sibilyang magpinsan ng pamilyang  Absalon ay nasawi at isa pa ay  nasugatan dahil sa pagkakamaling pinasabog sa kanila ang command-detonated land mines.

Anuman ang klase ng sandata ay maling gamitin laban sa mga sibilyan. Ito ay mahigpit ng patakaran ng CPP, NPA, NDFP at rebolusyonaryong gobyerno ng bayan.

Gumawa na ng kagyat na pagsisiyasat ang partikular na kommand ng NPA sa Masbate na may kinalaman sa partikular na yunit at ilang indibidwal na may pananagutan sa malungkot na pangyayari. Tinanggap ng naturang komand na may pagkakamali.

 Pero gusto pa rin ng pinakamataas na organo ng NDFP na may mas malalim pang imbestigasyon para magkaroon ng batayan para litisin ang mga akusado sa court martial ng NPA o sa hukumang bayan ng rebolusyonaryong gobyerno ng bayan.

2. Maaari nyo po bang maipaliwanag Prof Sison kung meron po bang nilabag ang mga NPA sa land mines na kanilang isinagawa sa Masbate? Ano po ba ang implikasyon nito sa International Humanitarian Law?

JMS: Walang nilabag ng kabuaan ng NPA. Ang lumabag ay partikular na yunit ng NPA o iilang indibidwal na nagpaputok ng land mines. Ang mismong command-detonated land mines ay hindi ipinagbabawal ng Ottawa Treaty. Pero krimen o kamalian ang paggamit ng anumang sandata laban sa mga inosenteng sibilyan.

Sabi ng binanggit kong Masbate command ng NPA na command-detonated na land mines ang ginamit. Sa tamang paggamit ng ganitong land mines sa armadong kaaway ng NPA, hindi ipinagbabawal ng Ottawa Treaty at ng International Humanitarian Law.

Ang maliwanag na ipinagbabawal ng Ottawa Treaty ay yong land mines na sumasabog dahil sa presensya, presyur o kontak ng biktima. Ipinagbabawal ito dahil sa indiscriminate ang nabibiktima.

Sang-ayon at sumusunod ang CPP, NPA, NDFP at rebolusyonayong gobyerno ng bayan sa Ottawa Treaty. Patakaran ng buong kilusang rebolusyonaryo na bawal ang land mines na hindi command-detonated.

3. Hinggil po sa land mines, Prof Sison, maaari nyo po bang maibahagi ano po bang klase ng land mines ang tinatanggap sa International Humanitarian Law (IHL) sa mga lugar na may gera. Pinahihintulutan po ba talaga sa IHL ang pagtatanim ng bomba?

JMS: Sa International Humanitarian Law, ang Ottawa Treaty ang pinaka- partikular na instrumentong legal na nagsasabi kung anong klaseng land mines ang ipinagbabawal.

Ipinagbabawal nang kategorikal at pauli-ulit sa tratadong ito na bawal ang land mines na puputok dahil lamang sa presenya, presyur o kontak ng kahit sinong tao, inosenteng sibilyan o armadong kaaway ng NPA sa kasalukuyang gera sibil sa Pilipinas. Hindi ipinagbabawal ang command-detonated land mines.

4. Ano po ang inyong masasabi sa kahilingan ng gubyerno sa pamamagitan ni DILG Sec Eduardo Año na isurender sa kanila ang mga NPA na nagkasala sa naganap na pagsabog sa Masbate?

JMS: Alinsunod sa International Humanitarian Law at Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, ang NDFP ang may hurisdiksyon sa anumang paratang laban sa NPA at mga yunit nito at ang GRP naman ang may hurisdiksyon sa mga paratang laban sa AFP, PNP, paramilitar at mga yunit nito.

Ang NDFP at GRP ay mga co-belligerents sa isang gera sibil o armed conflict na saklaw ng Geneva Conventions. Hindi pwedeng utusan ng GRP ang NDFP na isurender sa GRP ang yunit ng NPA na gumawa ng pagkakamali sa Masbate.

Ang GRP ay hindi rin puedeng utusan ng NDFP na isurender sa kanya ang mga akusado sa higit ng 6000 paratang laban sa AFP at PNP na sometido sa Joint Monitoring Committee sa ilalim ng CARHRIHL.

Hindi ring pwedeng utusan ng NDFP ang GRP na isurender sa NDFP ang mga armadong tauhan ng GRP na pumaslang ng napakaraming NDFP peace consultant. Tinutukoy ang pagpaslang kina Randy Felix Malayao, Randall Echanis, Julius Giron, mag-asawang Cabanatan, mag-asawang Topacio, Reynaldo Bocala at iba pa.

May kanya-kanyang sistema ng gobyerno at batas ang GRP at NDFP. Sira-ulo ang mga opisyal at ahensya ng reaksyonaryong gobyerno na gustong magmando sa NDFP na isuko sa GRP ang mga akusado sa insidente ng command-detonated land mines sa Masbate.

5. Ang Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law o mas kilala sa tawag na CARHRIHL ay isang kasunduan na pinirmahan ng gubyerno ng Pilipinas at ng National Democratic Front of the Philippines noong 1998. Ayon sa AFP hindi na ito epektibo dahil wala ng negosasyon sa pagitan ng GRP at NDFP, at matagal na ring nilusaw ang Joint Monitoring Committee o JMC. Ano po amg inyong opinyon hinggil dito Prof Sison? May halaga pa po ba ang CARHRIHL sa panahon ngayon?

JMS: Umiiral pa ang CARHRIHIL dahil sa maraming probisyon nito ay hango sa international law sa human rights at humanitarian conduct at nasa balangkas ng international law na tinanggap ng GRP Constitution. Umiiral at bukas din ang opisina ng NDFP-nominated section ng JMC sa Cubao at kinikilala at sinusuportahan pa ng Royal Norwegian Government.

Totoo na ang GRP ay nagsara ng kanyang opisina sa JMC. Pero hindi ibig sabihin nito na malayang gumawa ng mga krimen ang GRP sa mga pwersa at tauhan ng NDFP. Hindi rin ibig sabihin na  nawalan na  ng hurisdiksyon ng NDFP sa mga pwersang nasa panig niya.

Subukan ng GRP na magpadala ng arresting yunit nila sa erya ng NPA sa Masbate at tingnan natin kung ano ang mangyayari. Kung gawin ng GRP ang panghihimasok, hwag magulat kung lalabanan sila ng NPA.

6. Sa panghuli, Prof Sison, ano po ang inyong panawagan sa ating mga kababayan?

JMS: Hanggang ngayon ipinagmamatigas at ipinagmamalaki ni Duterte na tinapos at pinatay na niya ang peace negotiations at gusto niya ang gera total at pakana niyang idahilan ang armadong rebolusyon para magpataw ng pasistang diktadura sa Pilipinas.

Napakalimitado na ang panahon na umasa ang sinuman na magbabago ang patakaran ni Duterte. Nasa huling taon na ang halimaw sa kanyang legal term of office.

Mas mabuting palakasin ang kilusan ng mga mamamayan para patalsikin sa poder ang traidor, berdugo, mandaranbong at maggagantsong rehimen ni Dutere at makipagsundo sa oposisyon na itaguyod ang patakaran na buksan muli ang peace negotiations ng GRP at NDFP para lutasin ang mga problema na ugat ng gera sibil.

Magkakaroon ang makatarungan at matibay na kapayapaan kung may peace negotiations muli at gumawa ng mga komprehensibong kasunduan tungkol sa mga batayang repormang sosyal, ekonomiko at pulitikal sa balangkas ng The Hague Joint Declaration ng GRP at NDFP.

JMS: Sa pagtatapos ng ating panayam, nagpapasalamat ako kay Prop. Raymundo, sa Kodao at sa lahat ng ating tagapakinig.

Sarah: Maraming-maraming salamat po Prof. Sison para sa isang malaman at ubod ng linaw na pagpapaliwanag. Ang mga nabanggit na mga ahensya at pinagkaisahang dokumento na tunog-teknikal sa una, ngayon ay may malinaw nang hugis kaugnay ng trahedya sa Masbate at gayon na rin sa kabuuang kondukta ng armadong tunggalian sa pagitan ng GRP at CPP-NPA.

Itanggi man ng gobyernong Duterte, maging ng mga anti-komunista at iba pang mga grupo na nananawagan ng maka-isang panig na resolusyon sa trahedyang ito, hindi na maikakaila ang bisa ng mga tratado o treaty at dokumentong sumasaklaw sa kondukta ng armadong tunggalian.

Walang silbing i-etsa pwera sa diskusyon ang dual state power sa bansa, o ang realidad na may dalawang gobyerno sa Pilipinas na sangkot sa isang armadong tunggalian. Hindi ito tungkol durugan o paggapi na solusyon ni Duterte. Walang kahihinatnan ang ganyang pusisyon dahil matagal nang nalikha ang mga opsiyal at lehitimong mekanismo para resolbahin ang mga usaping dulot ng tunggaliang ito. Ang mga mekanismong ito ay hindi pumapabor sa isang panig, kundi mga mekanismong nagbubukas upang talakayin, sawatahin, resolbahan ng dalawang panig ang mga umano’y abuso ng bawat panig, mga panukala ng bawat panig upang matugunan ang ugat ng armadong tunggalian. Sa puntong ito ng armadong tunggalian sa pagitan ng GRP at CPP-NPA walang ibang mekanismo ang maaaring makatugon dito kundi ang Usapang Pangkapayapaan o Peace Talks.

Hanggang sa muli, ito po si Sarah Raymundo, guro ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas at aktibista ng Bagong Alyansang Makabayan. Ibayong pag-iingat at pakikibaka laban sa tiraniya.


Bicol NDF says Masbate ‘clash’ another police canard

The group said the three massacre victims were civilians and not communist guerrillas.

The National Democratic Front in the Bicol Region (NDF-Bikol) denied a clash happened between the New People’s Army (NPA) and government forces in Masbate last June 8 that the Philippine National Police (PNP) claimed resulted in the death of three communist guerrillas.

The three victims were civilians who were abducted and later killed by troops of the 2nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (PA) and the provincial police, NDF-Bikol spokesperson Ma. Roja Banua said in statements.

In a June 9 statement, Banua said the government troops indiscriminately fired their guns from four to eight o’clock Tuesday morning and abducted farmers Ramon ‘Boy’ Valenzuela Brioso of Sitio Mabuaya, Matiporon, Milagros; Antonio ‘Tony’ Polegrantes of Barangay Hermosa, Cawayan; and Ailyn ‘Eket’ Bulalacao Gracio of Sitio Bantolinao, Barangay Amutag, Aroroy.

Brioso, 58 years old, was chief cowboy of 7R Ranch while Polegrantes was barangay Hermosa chief tanod, Banua said in another statement today.

PNP-Bicol claimed the three were NPA guerrillas who were part of the group behind the bomb blast that killed footballer Keith Absalon and his cousin Nolven on June 6 in Masbate City.

Bicol regional police spokesperson Maj. Maria Luisa Calubaquib claimed a firefight happened between 30 suspected NPA fighters and a PNP-PA composite team in Barangay Anas, Masbate City at 5:30 a.m. last Tuesday.

The government troopers were reportedly serving an arrest warrant to murder suspect Arnold Rosero the police said may be the leader of the group who detonated the bomb that killed the Absalons.

The police added that the bodies of three dead were found at the clash site after the 15-minute firefight.

The PA for its part claimed guns, ammunition and bomb parts were found near the clash site.

Philippine Army 9th Infantry Division public affairs chief Capt. John Paul Belleza claimed government soldiers found 14 M16 rifles, an M653 rifle, an M14 rifle, bullets, tents and bomb parts in a nipa hut at the boundary of barangays Anas and Bolo.

Banua however denied a clash happened between the NPA’s Jose Rapsing Command and the government troops last Tuesday.

“The police must be drunk from gunpowder-induced illusions when it claimed they confiscated 17 firearms, command-detonated explosives and other war materiel from a made-up clash,” Banua said.

The NDF spokesperson also revealed that the Masbate Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) had already repeatedly announced Rosero killed in various clashes in the past years.

The latest claim by the local police was issued to please newly-appointed PNP chief Guillermo Eleazar, Banua said.

“In their haste to take advantage of the NPA’s humble admission of its mistake (in the Absalons’ deaths), they are telling a multitude of lies that are easily disproven. They will also personally benefit from the reward monies they are sure to claim from the national TF-ELCAC,” Banua added.

NDF-Bikol challenged investigating groups to look into how the government’s anti-communist task force is taking advantage of the Absalon family’s grief as well as the death of the three “farmer-civilians.” # (Raymund B. Villanueva)