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Ladlad, Villamors suffering from maltreatment

National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace consultant Vicente Ladlad and companions are suffering from maltreatment in Camp Karingal, his wife complained in an “emergency bulletin.”

Ladlad’s wife Fides Lim announced on her Facebook account that Ladlad and his companion Alberto Villamor were “suddenly ordered transferred to a small, congested prison cell for detainees accused of common crimes at the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (CIDU), Quezon City police headquarters.”

Prior to the transfer, Ladlad and Villamor were detained in separate headquarters from common crime offenders after their arrest last November 8.

Ladlad, 69, suffers from acute and chronic asthma that has degenerated to emphysema in addition to a heart condition, Lim said.

Lim said there are 38 male detainees in Ladlad and Villamor’s current prison cell, measuring around 20 square meters.

“The room is so overcrowded that inmates have to take turns sleeping on the floor. Only around 20 prisoners can lie down at a time. They have to sleep on their side to fit in more sleeping bodies into that cramped floor space,” Lim said.

In between them, others have to stand up or sit down. To relieve the congestion during nighttime, sometimes ten prisoners are allowed to sleep at the office area outside the prison cell, she added.

She also complained that cramped as the area is, the “main” floor area of the prison cell is reserved as sleeping space primarily for those who personally contribute for weekly food expenses since there are no food rations for the prisoners.

“Despite the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners requiring access to fresh air and sunning, for two whole days now, Vic and Alberto have not been allowed to go out of their congested cell,” Lim said.

‘World’s most crowded’

Philippine jails have been reported to be the world’s most crowded.

“A humanitarian crisis is facing the Philippine corrections. The Philippine National Police (PNP) detention centers, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and provincial jails, and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) prisons are not only full to the brim, they are teeming with emaciated and disease-carrying bodies,” a Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism article reported last July.

“On June 30, 2016, upon assumption of Rodrigo Duterte as President of the country, the BJMP population stood at 96,000 inmates or Persons Deprived of Liberties (PDLs). Now, two years and three State of the Nation Addresses (SONA) after, the BJMP population stands at 160,000 PDLs. That is a staggering growth of 64 percent in two years,” the article, written by Dr. Raymund Narag, a professor at the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice of the Southern Illinois University said.

“We are now officially the most overcrowded correctional facilities in the whole world: our 605-percent congestion rate is far ahead of Haiti’s 320 percent, the second most crowded,” the article added.

The situation has worsened Ladlad’s health condition, Lim said.

“He has been having palpitations and compelled to take his ‘emergency’ medicines to avoid getting sicker,” she explained.

Lim also said that the Villamors are also suffering from their prison condition.

Panic attacks

“[Alberto] is diabetic requiring insulin and is just recovering from his second stroke that occurred last April 2018,” Lim said.

Virginia Villamor, wife of Alberto who was arrested along with the two is also suffering from trauma resulting from the raid and arrest, Lim added.

“She is given to uncontrollable trembling at night and cries and cries whenever she remembers how the arresting team forced her to lie face down on the floor,” Lim said.

She added that Virginia’s pelvic fracture, which occurred when she was bumped by a tricycle, was aggravated when the police pushed her down to the floor during the raid.

“The injury now makes it difficult for her to stand up,” Lim said.

Lim said that when the three were kept in one room, Virginia constantly called on husband Alberto to talk to her so she can sleep.

“Her transfer to the women’s prison cell and consequent separation from Alberto have worsened her emotional state. She is on the verge of a nervous breakdown,” Lim said.

Lim demanded that the CIDU stop reprisal actions being committed against Ladlad and the Villamors as well as proper medical attention and treatment for the three.

She added that human rights lawyers have filed a motion before the Quezon City Office of the City Prosecutor and Manila RTC Branch 32 to immediately transfer the three to the Metro Manila District Jail 4 (formerly known as SICA-1) in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig, where other political prisoners are being held. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NDFP-Duterte meeting up to the President–Agcaoili

The possible meeting between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) the Government of the Republic of the Philippines is up to President Rodrigo Duterte, the Left’s chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili said.

Agcaoili said they welcome the opportunity to meet with Duterte “unless he does not want to or his military is against it.”

In a speech in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan Saturday, Duterte said he is thinking of meeting with the NDFP negotiators.

“I called for a cluster meeting including the military. ‘So what do you think?’ They said, ‘Maybe. Perhaps maybe.’ It’s not a very big margin there, but ‘maybe,’” Duterte said.

Agcaoli said in a statement that he and fellow NDFP Negotiating Panel member Coni Ledesma have a scheduled trip to the Philippines in connection with their work as members of the NDFP component in the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

The NDFP and the GRP has a joint secretariat office in Quezon City where a total of 6,898 human rights violations complaints have been filed since June 2004 to March 2018.

The NDFP said 4,886 complaints have been received against GRP forces while 2,012 have been filed against the NDFP.

Agcaoili however earlier said majority of their complaints against their forces were nuisance complaints manufactured and filed by GRP agencies.

Agcaoili said they would be accompanied by NDFP Negotiating Panel senior adviser Luis Jalandoni.

Their trip would also include a meeting with the new Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines Bjørn Jahnsen, he added.

Agcaoili gave no dates on their arrival and their possible meeting with Duterte.

Duterte has cancelled the peace negotiations between the GRP and the NDFP since November last year. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

 

NDFP’s Vic Ladlad talks about their arrest last Thursday

“Paglabag sa mga provision ng Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) ang pag-aresto sa akin at pagkukulong. Ang provision ng JASIG sa safety and immunity ay perpetual.

“Planted, itinanim, ang mga firearm at explosives na, diumano, ay nakuha sa bahay na tinatirahan namin.  Nakita naming nang ipasok ng mga operatiba ng Quezon City Police District ang isang bag na naglalaman ng ‘baby’ M-16. Maikli ang bag na kinalalagyan nito at nakalabas ang kanyon at bahagi ng katawan ng riple.  Nakalagay sa isang mahaba pero narrow na case ang isang riple na ang rifle butt at makikita sa likuran ng case. Nakita rin ng isa sa amin na inilagay ng operatiba ng QCPD ang isang pistol.”

Ladlad and companions say PNP planted guns, grenades

As expected, the Philippine National Police claimed that National Democratic Front of the Philippines consultant Vicente Ladlad was in possession of an assortment of guns and grenades when arrested in Barangay San Bartolome at around midnight last Thursday.

At their inquest proceedings at the Quezon City Hall of Justice Friday, however, Ladlad asserted the guns and grenades were planted by the PNP, as they did when his fellow NDFP consultants Rafael Baylosis and Adelberto Silva were taken.

The couple Alberto and Virginia Villamor were arrested with Ladlad.

Atty. Rachel Pastores, managing counsel of Public Interest Law Center and lead counsel of the accused, said there are clear defects and irregularities in the warrant presented before the Prosecutor. Atty. Pastores cited that her clients was not given a copy of the search warrant during the arrest and their constitutional rights (Miranda Law) were violated.

Atty. Pastores is hoping that the inquest prosecutors resolving to the complaint will grant their manifestions and will drop the cases against their clients. The deadline of resolution is on Monday, November 12. # (Video by Joseph Cuevas)

NDFP condemns Ladlad’s arrest, demands his immediate release

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) condemned the arrest of its peace consultant Vicente Ladlad along with couple Alberto and Virginia Villamor midnight of November 8 in Barangay San Bartolome, Novaliches, Quezon City.

The NDFP said Ladlad’s arrest is a flagrant violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) it signed with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).

The group also accused arresting officers of “planting” explosives on Ladlad to justify his prolonged detention on non-bailable offenses.

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Ladlad was in possession of two assault rifles, two handguns, four grenades and assorted ammunition at the time of his arrest.

Ladlad is the third NDFP consultant actively participating in the peace talks to be arrested by the Duterte regime.

“Less than a month ago, Adelberto Silva, a member of the NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms was arrested with five others in Sta. Cruz, Laguna on October 15 while conducting sectoral consultations,” the NDFP said.

A third consultant, Rafael Baylosis, was arrested along Katipunan Ave. in Quezon City on January 31.

Silva and Baylosis were also accused of possessing guns and explosives when arrested.

“Under the JASIG, Ladlad, Silva and Baylosis as duly accredited NDFP consultants publicly known to be involved in the peace negotiations should have been free from surveillance, harassment, search, arrest, detention, prosecution and interrogation or any other similar punitive actions,” the NDFP said.

Just two weeks ago, Ladlad’s wife Fides Lim reported being tailed by suspected state agents riding a silver Innova van with plate number TY 4585 as she left her house.

A check with the Land Transportation Office revealed that the number is registered to a red Honda TMX motorcycle.

In a separate statement Thursday, Lim challenged the PNP to conduct a fingerprint test of all the guns the arresting officers said they found in the house where Ladlad was staying.

“They will not find a single speck of his fingerprint in any of that trove because they were all planted to keep him locked up on non-bailable charges. They faked their evidence because they have no case against him,” Lim said.

Lim said the PNP failed to present Ladlad in a press conference in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig Thursday in time for Director General Oscar Albayalde’s birthday when their stunt “flopped”.

“[T]he PNP failed to present Vic because their publicity stunt flopped when the media began interviewing me right inside that room and I said that all those guns the PNP says they captured from him were all planted,” Lim said.

“I kept on insisting that all I want is to see my husband, to verify with my own eyes that they have not harmed him in any way. But the PNP maneuvered at least three times to get me and the media out of that room,” she added.

Lim said she told the media that the PNP is doing this because it wanted to display the “planted guns” on the tables inside the room and it did not want the feisty woman around.

“What is PNP Chief Albayalde so afraid of? The truth. Because he is a liar who manufactures evidence to justify their cases that are built on pure lies,” Lim fumed.

She added it was only after nearly nine hours that she was able to see her husband when they sped after the PNP convoy that brought him back to Camp Karingal to imprison him.

“Happy birthday, Gen. Albayalde, I’m glad I rained on your parade,” Lim taunted.

The NDFP said it demands its consultants’ immediate release and the dropping of “trumped-up criminal charges” against them to end their unjust detention.

The NDFP likewise demanded the release of four other “unjusty imprisoned” NDFP consultants Rommel Salinas and Ferdinand Castillo who are being held in BJMP facilities and Eduardo Sarmiento and Leopoldo Caloza who are incarcerated at the national penitentiary. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Activists demand freedom for NDFP’s Vic Ladlad

A few hours after news of the arrest of a senior National Democratic Front of the Philippines’ (NDFP) peace consultant became public, activists trooped to Camp Karingal in Quezon City to demand for his and his companions’ release.

Vicente Ladlad’s detention despite his safety and immunity guarantees from arrest and surveillance is an attack on the peace process, the activists said. (Video by Joseph Cuevas)

 

NDFP’s Vic Ladlad arrested


National Democratic Front of the Philippines’ (NDFP) senior peace consultant Vicente Ladlad has been arrested by the police, his wife Fides Lim announced on her Facebook account.

“My husband VIC LADLAD was arrested today, November 8, around 12 midnight based on a text I got. Status: MISSING,” Lim said.

Lim added Ladlad was arrested together with a couple in Doña Tomasa, Brgy. San Bartolome, Novaliches in Quezon City quoting the unnamed couple’s daughter.

“Arresting unit can only be the CIDG (the Criminal Investigation and  Detection Group of the Philippine National Police) which tailed me last week. PLEASE HELP ME LOOK FOR VIC,” Lim said.

Lim earlier publicly accused government intelligence agents of casing their house and tailing her around Makati City in their bid to look for Ladlad.

She added that her husband is a chronic asthmatic which has degenerated into emphysema and needs his medicines badly.

Lim warned the police not to “plant” firearms or explosives on her husband.

The police is known to charge NDFP consultants with possession of guns and explosives to prevent them from posting bail.

In a later post, however, media outfit Pinoy Weekly said Ladlad is being held at the PNP’s Camp Karingal in Quezon City.

Kodao sources said that Ladlad may be brought later today to Camp Crame.

Ladlad’s lawyers said he and other NDFP consultants have been taking “precautionary security measures” since President Rodrigo Duterte cancelled peace negotiations between his government and the NDFP last November.

Ladlad was later accused of being one of the top leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines in a government petition to have the group proscribed as “terrorist”.

Ladlad is supposed to be immune from arrest as a Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees-protected peace negotiator.

Earlier, senior peace consultants Rafael Baylosis and Adelberto Silva were also arrested by the police and military in January and October, respectively. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NDFP-Negros identifies Sagay massacre gunmen

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in Negros Island identified four suspects in the massacre of nine farmers in Sagay City last October 20.

In a statement, NDFP-Negros spokesperson Frank Fernandez said the killers behind the massacre were Vito Lotrago, Eduardo Linugon, Rexi Robles and a certain Rako, former members of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army (RPA) and active members of the Special Civilian Active Auxiliary (SCAA).

Fernandez said the Roselyn Pelle Command of the New People’s Army (NPA)-Northern Negros Front conducted an exhaustive investigation into the incident and identified the four as the perpetrators.

The NDFP official said the gunmen are under the employ of local politicians, such as the Marañons, specifically Negros Occidental governor Alfredo Jr. and Sagay City mayor Alfredo III.

“It is common knowledge that for decades the Marañon family and their kin (the Tolentinos, Sumbincos, Lumaynos, Zarosas, Javelosas, Jaojocos and Cuevas) have maintained and expanded their land holdings in Sagay City and neighboring towns and cities using violence and brutality by conniving with the AFP/PNP (Armed Forces of the Philippines/Philippine National Police) and employing armed mercenaries like the RPA and SCAA,” Fernandez said.

“I know for a fact that, for the right price, P2,000 or thereabouts, SCAA elements are willing to kill anyone,” he added.

Fernandez, a former priest, is a long-time leader of the revolutionary groups in the island.

Fernandez said the elder Marañon is the “kingpin of big despotic landlords in the province” who colludes with the AFP [and] PNP and other government agencies to downplay the Sagay massacre.

“Marañon continues his vain attempts to divert the public from the real issues of land monopoly, tyranny and exploitation,” he said.

The Marañons and the PNP have yet to reply to Fernandez’s statement.

Earlier, the local police filed multiple murder charges against two National Federation of Sugar Workers officials, alleging Rene Manlangit and Rogelio Arquillo recruited the victims into their organization and later killed them as part of the destabilization plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.

Fernandez said the police “script” stinks of deceit and ill motives that is “evidently demented.” # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

‘Reasons are abundant for peace talks if only Duterte listens’–Sison

National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison said reasons are abundant for the peace negotiations if only Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) President Rodrigo Duterte listens to reason.

In his quick reply to Duterte’s challenge to be given reasons to resume peace negotations, Sison said his former student can no longer be swayed by any reason based on the latter’s repeated termination of the talks and despite NDFP’s standing policy to be ready and willing to negotiate.

“You are already crazed by your drive for absolute power and absolute corruption. Every day you rage with your favorite call to your armed minions: Kill, Kill, Kill. You offer no solution to the crying problems of the people but further exploitation and oppression,” Sison said Monday.

Last Sunday, Duterte challenged, “Communists, Jose Ma. Sison, give me a good reason to go back to the bargaining table. If there is none, or if it’s just a repeat of what we have discussed earlier, then that will not suffice.”

Duterte demanded that the Communists should give him “more” to convince him to resume the peace talks as he is “greedy” for proof of their sincerity.

“I need more, I need more. I might be greedy. But I am greedy because I’m [a] worker of the Republic of the Philippines,” Duterte said.

Last June, however, it was not NDFP’s sincerity that Duterte cited as his reason for his last cancellation of formal peace talks.

As announced by Presidential peace adviser on the peace process, Duterte wanted three months to study the documents mutually crafted by both GRP and NDFP negotiators and to “engage the bigger peace table, the Filipino people.”

Set for signing by the GRP and NDFP negotiating panels was an Interim Peace Agreement package that included agreements on agrarian reform and rural development, national industrialization and economic development, a coordinated unilateral ceasefire, and an amnesty proclamation for all NDFP-listed political prisoners.

In his subsequent speeches regarding the peace talks, Duterte also demanded that the peace talks should be held in the Philippines if he would agree to its resumption.

Duterte eventually revived previous government’s localized peace talks scheme instead, which was unanimously rejected by Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army (NPA) and NDFP formations throughout the country.

Sison said Duterte’s localized peace talks scheme are nothing fake surrender exercises.

“Your paramilitary agents are the ones posing as the surrenderers,” Sison told Duterte.

“Every local command of the NPA has condemned you offers of bribes for surrender. They have expressed their determination to fight and finish your tyranny, corruption and mendacity,” Sison added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NDFP: Sagay massacre child survivor needs protection from police

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines Special Office for the Protection of Children (SOPC) called for the protection of the 14-year old Sagay City massacre survivor the police earlier tried to take into custody.

Coni Ledesma, NDFP Negotiating Panel member and SOPC head said in a statement that the victim needs psycho-social support and the nurture of his family instead of being endangered into being branded a child soldier of the New People’s Army (NPA).

“The last thing the boy needs is to be victimized and traumatized twice over by being treated like a criminal,” Ledesma, also a Negrense, said.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) tried arresting the victim last Wednesday while in the custody of the City Social Work and Development Office of Sagay and said he may be both witness and suspect in the incident last Saturday that killed nine farmers.

Sagay Police Chief Inspector Robert Reyes Mansueto denied arresting the victim and said they only tried to him “for safekeeping.”

The boy was eventually returned to his mother with the help of human rights lawyers.

Ledesma said the minor is among the most vulnerable of the Sagay massacre survivors who needs urgent intervention.

The NDFP SOPC called on human rights, civic and religious organizations and concerned individuals to come to the aid of the child.

“His parents or guardians, his teachers, people from his community must stand up and vouch for him to prevent the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP from further violating his rights,” Ledesma said.

She added that the NDFP-SOPC is willing to provide support and assistance should the boy and his family request it. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)