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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)

 

‘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)

Lawyer slams resolution keeping Silva and companions in jail

A lawyer for National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultant Adelberto Silva and his four companions slammed the Laguna Prosecutor’s Office’s decision to keep them in jail and charging them with illegal possession of explosives.

Public Interest Law Center managing counsel Rachel Pastores said Laguna chief prosecutor Maria Victoria Dado’s decision to amend the inquest resolution is part of “underhanded tactics and unforgiveable maneuvers” against her clients.

“While charges for illegal possession of firearms were maintained against only two – Silva and driver Julio N. Lusania – the prosecutor amended the inquest resolution and vacated the earlier release order for Hedda L. Calderon, Ireneo O. Atadero, and Edisel R. Legaspi,” Pastores said in a statement.

“The charges against all being non-bailable, none of them may be released,” she added.

Silva and companions were arrested last October 15 after being blocked by a combined police and military team in Sta. Cruz, Laguna while on their way to a peace consultation.

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group claimed guns, explosives and ammunition were hidden in the car the five rode in.

“Obviously, there are concerted efforts to ensure the five remain behind bars, on fake charges, in wan support of a fake destabilization narrative – all lies and jest,” Pastores said.

Both the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines alleged Silva was part of the so-called “Red October Plot” to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.

Silva denied the allegation.

Silva is vice-chairperson of the NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms who actively participated in both formal and back channel peace negotiations with the Duterte government since 2016.

The NDFP Negotiating Panel said Silva should be released as a Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees-protected peace consultant. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NDFP to Panelo: It is gov’t that is committing crimes against the people

Leaders of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace panel took turns lambasting new Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, calling him “amnesiac,” “befuddled,” and, worse, “cheap shyster.”

Reacting from Panelo’s challenge to NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison to “walk the talk” and support President Rodrigo Duterte’s “call for conciliation and peace,” the Left’s chief peace negotiator Fidel Agcaoili said the new Malacañan mouthpiece conveniently suffers from amnesia.

Agcaoili reminded Panelo it was Duterte who terminated the peace negotiations four times since May 2017 and foiled every attempt to resume these through back channel talks.

“At any rate, during the third termination in November 2017, President Duterte issued Proclamation 360, ending the peace negotiations,” Agcaoili said.

Duterte has not revoked his proclamation even after committees under the NDFP and Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) negotiators worked out a number of “unprecedented agreements” on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development and National Industrialization and Economic Development, which constitute the bedrock sections of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER).

Also hammered out was an Amnesty Proclamation for all NDFP-listed political prisoners to be signed and certified by President Duterte as urgent to obtain the concurrence of Congress in order to effect their expeditious release.

Agcaoili added there was an agreement for a Coordinated Unilateral Ceasefire (CUC) which would have taken effect upon signing by the Negotiating Panels.

The CUC was conceptualized to evolve into a bilateral ceasefire.

“Together, these three agreements would have constituted the Interim Peace Agreement to be signed at the scheduled resumption of formal talks in Oslo last June 28 to 30,” Agcaoili said.

“Never have the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations advanced to this level. But for his own vile reasons, President Duterte has chosen to terminate the talks right at the brink of all these breakthroughs,” he added.

The NDFP chief negotiator said Duterte wasted time and squandered efforts by both NDFP and GRP negotiators, not to mention the lives that could have been saved on both sides of the armed conflict.

Agcaoili paid little significance to Duterte’s latest speech in Davao City that “merely mentioned surrender talks, and enticements to individual NPA guerrillas who capitulate.”

“Nowhere does he mention the meaningful reforms that should be in place to address the roots of the armed conflict,” he said.

Who is committing crimes?

In a statement issued over the weekend, Panelo also said the Duterte government cannot sit with Communist leaders in the same negotiating table while the latter’s armed comrades continue fighting.

“These include the ambushing of our armed forces and innocent civilians while enforcing their so-called revolutionary taxes and destroying the properties of individuals or entities who refuse to give in to their orders,” Panelo said.

Agcaoili replied that contrary to Panelo’s lies, it is the government that are “fraudulently committing criminal acts and bringing harm to our people.”

He cited the massacre of nine farm workers in Sagay City, Negoris Occidental last Saturday as a worsening of “the festering social problems that feed the fires of armed conflict.”

“As a testament to the utter failure of the GRP to effect social justice, the land remains undistributed 18 years after the sugar workers first petitioned the DAR for the estate to be placed under land reform coverage,” he said.

Sison for his part said Panelo exposed himself as “a cheap shyster who engages in outright lying and shouting in a futile attempt to deny or cast doubt on the truth of the Duterte-style massacre of the nine in Sagay.” # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NDFP: Sagay massacre shows evils of hacienda system

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines’ (NDFP) Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms (RWC-SER) condemned the massacre of nine peasants, including two minors, in Sagay City, Negros Occidental Saturday night.

The group tasked to co-craft with its government counterparts free land distribution programs for poor farmers blamed the failure of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) to implement social justice through genuine agrarian reform.

“The incident underscores the evils of the hacienda system,” NDFP RWC-SER chairperson Juliet de Lima said in a statement.

Nine farmers, including two minors, were fired upon by around 40 armed men at Hacienda Nene, Sagay City. They were subsequently shot on their heads and three victims’s bodies were burned by their killers.

Members of the National Federation of Sugar Workers, the victims started a land occupation campaign earlier to plant vegetables to tide them over the expected dead season of the sugarcane crops.

“As long as a handful of landlords monopolize land ownership and perpetuate their power through force, the Sagay 9 will not be the last victims of agrarian-related violence. Agrarian unrest will persist as the peasant masses continue to suffer from widespread poverty, high indebtedness, severe hunger and malnutrition,” de Lima added.

The NDFP RWC-SER also said President Rodrigo Duterte and the militarists in his cabinet have blood on their hands for terminating the peace negotiations that would have resulted in the adoption of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER)’s section on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ARRD).

“The draft ARRD, which was scheduled for signing last November before Duterte abruptly cancelled the peace talks provides for the free distribution of big landholdings and landed estates including lands targeted by the government for distribution, haciendas that are under the control of private individuals or entities, disputed lands with local agrarian reform and peasant struggles and lands already occupied by farmers through various forms of land cultivation and collective farming activities,” de Lima said.

“The break-up of land monopolies and free land distribution are the just, necessary and urgent corrective measures to the centuries-old social injustices suffered by the peasantry,” she added.

A day before the massacre, Duterte admitted in his speech that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-led revolution would not go away within his lifetime.

“When I die, the NPA (New People’s Army) will still be here. When Joma Sison dies, the NPA will still be here,” Duterte said, referring to the CPP founder and NDFP chief political consultant.

Sison for his part said Duterte is correct in saying that the NPA will continue to exist even after the professor and his former student are gone “…if by implication he means that the root causes of the armed conflict must be addressed and solved by social, economic and political reforms.”

“It is up to him to end his position of having terminated the peace negotiations with Proclamation 360. The standing policy of the NDFP is to negotiate with the GRP anytime he is ready to resume the peace negotiations in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration and further agreements,” Sison said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Prosecutor drops gun possession charge vs Silva’s companions

Three companions of National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultant Adelberto Silva arrested with him last Monday, October 15, were ordered freed Thursday after charges of illegal possession of firearms against them have been dismissed.

Public Interest Law Center (PILC) managing counsel Rachel Pastores said that the temporary release of Hedda Calderon, Ireneo Atadero and Edisel Legaspi is allowed pending further investigation of an additional charge against them.

Pastores said that additional charges of illegal possession of explosives were referred for preliminary investigation by Laguna provincial prosecutor Ma. Victoria Dado.

The three were arrested along with Silva and their driver Julio Lusania by combined elements of the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Sta. Cruz, Laguna.

The CIDG said the two .45 caliber handguns, three hand grenades, a claymore mine-type improvised explosive device and assorted ammunition were seized from the five during their arrest.

Silva, however, told Kodao that the guns and explosives were “planted”.

“PILC expects the CIDG-NCR to implement the release soonest possible, in respect of due process and presumption of innocence of all detained, most especially the wrongfully-accused,” Pastores said.

The CIDG, however, still has to abide by the resolution and release the three.

In an Inquirer report, PILC’s Atty. Kristina Conti denied that Silva is part of any destabilization plot against President Rodrigo Duterte, such as the so-called Red October plot the military described by the military.

“This story is laughable but we are not amused,” Conti said.

Conti said the Calderon, Atadero and Legaspi were consulting with Silva who is a leading member of the NDFP’s Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms in its peace process with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.

Facing multiple murder charges for an alleged massacre in Inopacan, Leyte, Silva was released in August 2016 to enable his participation in the first formal talks between the GRP and the NDFP in Oslo, Norway.

His temporary bail was suspended last January, however, after President Duterte cancelled the peace talks. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)