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NDFP: Esperon, Parlade in Europe to set up death squads

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) expressed fears high ranking Rodrigo Duterte government officials are in Europe to hatch terrorist plots and set up assassination groups against Filipino activist groups.

In a statement, the NDFP Information Office in Utrecht, The Netherlands said National Security Council chairperson Hermogenes Esperon and his newly-appointed vice-chairperson Antonio Parlade Jr. in Milan, conducting meetings with former government soldiers and police officers who have resided in Italy.

“This is not the first time that Parlade came to Europe to undertake terrorist activities against progressive forces based in Europe. Last year, the Duterte regime through its NTF-ELCAC (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict) traveled to several countries in Europe purportedly to set-up cells of the NTF-ELCAC,” the NDFP said.

The NDFP said these cells are aimed at undertaking surveillance and red-tagging activities against progressive compatriot organizations, foreign solidarity friends and entities, anti-Duterte individuals and personalities, especially open leaders of the NDFP and its peace panel.

Those who will be subjected to surveillance are possibly targets for assassination, the group added.

NDFP-supplied photo of newly-appointed National Security Council vice chairperson Antonio Parlade partying with OFWs in Milan, Italy. A check on the Facebook accounts of the persons identified in the screenshot did not show the photos or may have been already deleted.

Independent sources confirmed the two officials were in Milan and have partied with known Rodrigo Duterte supporters among Filipino migrant workers in the Northern Italian city where tens of thousands of Filipinos reside.

Parlade and Esperon’s trip was unannounced in the Philippines. The government’s top security officials have yet to respond to the NDFP’s allegations

Not the first time

The NDFP recalled at least two earlier circumstances when such plots were hatched and launched by the Philippine government against Europe-based revolutionaries and activists.

“Years ago, according to NDFP sources, the NDFP leaders based in Europe got hold of information that an assassination team has been formed in Milan and was ready to travel to the Netherlands to assassinate NDFP leaders,” the group said.

During the Joseph Estrada regime, a member of an assassination team the regime organized and sent to kill NDFP chief political consultant Prof. Jose Ma. Sison, came forward to expose the plan after it failed, and after the Dutch police confirmed the plan’s existence, it added.

The NDFP also alleged a similar plan to assassinate Prof. Sison came to the attention of the NDFP leaders last year and was similarly confirmed by the Dutch police.

The Dutch police Sison to take precautions, it said.

Compatriots, the NDFP member organization for migrant Filipinos, said the Philippine government’s newest attempts to set up death squads in Europe are likely to fail.

“Like earlier attempts of Parlade and Esperon to recruit OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) to the NTF-ELCAC and possibly set-up a death squad or assassination team in Europe, their terrorist and fascist plan is sure to fail and will be foiled by freedom and democracy-loving overseas Filipinos and European friends,” Compatriots said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

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)

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)

REMEMBERING RANDY MALAYAO

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.

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)

Gov’t freeze of Casambre bank accounts ‘pathetic’

[UPDATED] The government’s freeze order of a National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant’s bank accounts is a pathetic move that failed to touch his real treasures, his family said.

Xandra Liza Bisenio, daughter of jailed NDFP consultant Rey Claro Casambre, said their family’s real assets and their most valued possessions cannot be found in her father’s modest bank accounts the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) recently ordered frozen.

“Freezing my father’s and others’ almost negligible accounts purportedly to cripple the communist movement is pathetic. Instead, it has deprived my elderly parents of their funds for essential needs, magnified the crisis of the pandemic, and is bringing anxiety to our family and friends,” Bisenio said in a forum marking the first anniversary of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 last July 3.

Bisenio said they managed to get copies of official bank documents last June 16 that confirmed Casambre’s bank accounts have been frozen in accordance with ATC Resolution 17 and AMLC Resolution TF-40 (2021).

“We had felt the adverse impact of this action a month earlier, even before the announcement of the designation (of Casambre and others as so-called terrorists). We attempted, as was usual, to withdraw cash from Mr. Casambre’s ATM account to pay for some groceries, and got the message: ‘The account does not exist,’” Bisenio said.

She added that Casambre’s bank accounts are modest and do not deserve suspicion and subsequent closure.

Bisenio said Casambre’s bank deposits are no more than accumulated savings from allowances as executive director of the Philippine Peace Center and wife Cora’s income as researcher-translator.

She however said her parents’ modest monetary assets are not their family’s source of joy, security and peace of mind.

“They lie in our lifetime commitment to serve the common good, in solidarity with the downtrodden who are the real giants and heroes in this world. Intangible yet real and vibrant, these treasures are inextricably embedded in our minds, beyond the reach of any state entity, and silently but fiercely ablaze in our hearts, which no statute can ever freeze,” she said.

Rey Claro and Cora were arrested while on their way home to Cavite in December 2018 and were charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives, a standard case slapped against arrested activists by the police and military.

The prosecutor however found the charges “preposterous” that paved the way for Cora’s early release but Rey Claro remains in jail for separate murder and attempted murder charges of allegedly participating in a New People’s Army ambush in Lupon, Davao Oriental in September 2018.

Casambre’s bank accounts have been frozen after fellow NDFP consultant Vicente Ladlad’s two Landbank accounts have been closed in May this year. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

[ERRATUM: The original version of this report erroneously said the Casambre family publicly asked for the unfreezing of their bank accounts. They made no such claim in their statement, hence this corrected version. The reporter apologizes.]

Joma looks past the ‘treacherous’ Duterte for peace talks resumption

National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison looks past the Rodrigo Duterte administration for the possible resumption of the stalled peace negotiations between the Left and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).

In a statement, Sison said it is “utterly perverse” of the Duterte regime to expect that the Communists can be convinced back into peace negotiations after the murder of NDFP consultants and attempts by GRP officials and agencies to paint him as a “terrorist”.

“I assure these fascists (in the GRP) that the CPP, NPA and NDFP have enough brains to think that even peace negotiations in a foreign neutral venue have become too risky and costly for the NDFP after the murder of so many NDFP peace consultants,” Sison said.

Randy Felix Malayao, Randall Echanis, Julius Giron, ederly couple Agaton Topacio and Eugenia Magpantay, couple Antonio Cabanatan and Florenda Yap, and Reynaldo Bocala were all brutally killed after Duterte terminated the peace negotiations in 2017.

He added that here is a need for certain new guarantees to ensure the safety and immunity of NDFP negotiators, consultants and staff if ever peace negotiations would be held in cooperation with an administration, “which is not as treacherous and murderous as the Duterte regime.”

All-out war

In his statement, Sison confirmed observations that Duterte made a total turnaround on the peace negotiations in the second half of 2017.

In a statement, Sison said that after the Manila government aborted the fifth round of formal talks in May 2017 it became increasingly clear that Duterte had a change of position and attitude.

“He was no longer interested in peace negotiations with the NDFP and was single-mindedly for an all-out war against the CPP and NPA to comply with [then United States of America President Donald] Trump’s order and to aim for fascist dictatorship,” Sison said.

Duterte issued Proclamation 360 terminating the peace negotiations on November 23, 2017 and Proclamation 374 designating the CPP and NPA as “terrorist” organizations on December 5, 2017.

The termination wasted significant progress made in the negotiations and in the drafting of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms in the previous four rounds of formal talks from August 2016 to April 2017, Sison rued.

Sison said the Manila government’s turnaround came after Duterte failed to lure his former professor to return to the Philippines and instead allowed the Europe-held peace negotiations to produce beneficial agreements such as free land distribution to poor farmers.

Sison said Duterte used the excuse that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairperson has no control or influence over the Party and the New People’s Army (NPA) to push for so-called localized negotiations.

Sison said Duterte and the military are absolutely correct in saying the neither the NDFP Negotiating Panel and its chief political consultant have the power to issue orders to the CPP and the NPA whose leading formations are all in the Philippines.

“Duterte and his running dogs are therefore mendacious and malicious in taking the position and attitude and ranting that I make decisions and give orders to the CPP and NPA and that I am a “terrorist” who should be deported by the Dutch government to the Philippines for punishment by the Duterte regime under its draconian law of state terrorism,” he said.

Sison also scored repeated pro-GRP pickets staged in front of the Dutch Embassy in Makati City calling for his deportation to the Philippines.

The pickets have also demanded that the peace negotiations be held in the Philippines under the auspices of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.

“I wish to point out that Duterte and his fellow butchers are not only criminally brutal but also utterly stupid. They conveniently forget that I am a recognized political refugee under the absolute protection of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the principle of nonrefoulement in the Refugee Convention,” he said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Reds say Masbate incident will be investigated internally

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines pointed out that the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human rights and International Humanitarian Law established the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) as the principal mechanism to monitor the implementation of its agreement with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, under which the deaths of footballer Keith and his cousin Nolven in a bomb blast last Sunday should be investigated.

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) rejected calls by Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) agencies to surrender New People’s Army (NPA) fighters suspected to be behind the deaths of two civilians in Masbate City last Sunday.

In a statement, the NDFP said it asserts its duty to investigate the incident under its Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) with the GRP.

“Under the CARHRIHL, in conformity with their respective separate duties and responsibilities, the NDFP has sole jurisdiction over complaints against units and personnel of the (NPA), in the same way that the GRP has the sole jurisdiction over complaints against its own armed units and personnel,” it said.

NDFP’s assertion came after police and military officers dared the NPA to turn those suspected to have perpetrated the killings over to the GRP.

The Commission on Human Rights made the same demand, saying the NPA “should identify all those responsible and surrender them to the lawful authorities to face justice within the court system.”

The NDFP however pointed out that the CARHRIHL established the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) as the principal mechanism to monitor the implementation of the CARHRIHL, under which the deaths of footballer Keith and his cousin Nolven in a bomb blast should be investigated.

At present, the NDFP-nominated section is open and functioning but the GRP-nominated section had been inactive even as both the GRP and the NDFP have agreed in 2016 to reconvene the JMC to start investigating the thousands of complaints of violations filed since opening in 2004.

“The NDFP welcomes the urgings of all concerned for the necessary investigation and wishes to have the full chance to do the investigation and make the report to the GRP-NDFP (JMC) if and when convened to deal with the case,” it said.

Their own legal system

The NDFP however said the investigation of the Masbate incident should be within the NPA command structure and frameworks of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), NDFP and the People’s Democratic Government (PDG) the Communists claim to have established in areas under their control.

“The NDFP will make sure that certain questions are answered by a thoroughgoing investigation,” it said.

The group said it will seek answer to questions, such as:

1) If true, which NPA unit and personnel are involved?

2) Is there no case of the enemy committing the crime and falsely ascribing it to the NPA?, and

3) Is there no local feud involved?

“There should be no rush to judgment, presumption or insinuation to the effect that the entire revolutionary movement and entire revolutionary forces are guilty of a criminal offense, negligence or error for which certain individuals may be liable on the basis of a full and complete investigation,” it said.

Under its responsibility and direction and within PDG’s legal system, the NDFP said the investigation must be started and completed within the NPA command structure.

“[This is] to fully and completely establish the facts and prepare any appropriate charges before any procedure to prosecute and try the case before the military court of the NPA or people’s court,” it explained. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

AMLC freezes NDFP consultant’s bank account; immoral and reprehensible order, wife says

Funds consist solely of reparations received by Ladlad for human rights violations he suffered under martial law, Fides Lim reveals.

The wife of a jailed National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant assailed the freezing of his bank accounts containing compensations for human rights violations suffered during Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law years.

Fides Lim questioned the morality of the freeze order and appealed to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas governor Benjamin Diokno to reverse the directive against NDFP consultant Vicente Ladlad’s bank accounts with the government-owned Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP).

Ladlad’s two accounts, an ATM Visa Debit Card and the attached savings deposit, were ordered frozen following his designation as a “terrorist” on May 13 by the Anti-Terrorism Council.

Ladlad is among the several detained peace consultants of the National Democratic Front ordered arrested after peace negotiations were aborted by President Duterte in 2017.

In a May 31 letter to Diokno, concurrent chairperson of the Anti-Money Laundering Council, Lim expressed distress over the freezing of Ladlad’s LBP account, calling it immoral and illegal.

“[T]hat consist solely and purely of the compensation that Vic received from the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB) in May 2018 plus the compensation from Atty. Robert Swift in August 2019 from human rights class suits in reparation for Vic’s political imprisonment and torture during martial law and for the abduction and enforced disappearance of his first wife Leticia Pascual Ladlad in November 1975,” Lim said.

She said the two Land Bank accounts were opened in May 2018 when the HRVCB required approved eligible claimants to open a savings account at their nearest Land Bank branch to facilitate the deposit of the monetary compensation.

“Any investigation would easily reveal the official origin of those deposits and why it is wrongful, in fact immoral and reprehensible, to subject them to any freeze order as this would only perpetuate the injustice and tragedy that those accounts seek to atone for and indemnify,” she explained.

“Clearly, the funds are not from money laundering or terrorism financing but resulted from Republic Act No. 10368, otherwise known as the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, which established the HVRCB to decide on all claims,” Lim said in her letter, adding that authorities can see that the accounts were never used to launder funds for any illegal activity.

She noted that any investigation would also reveal that the reparation was in fact “misused” when Ladlad was arrested on November 8, 2018 and illegal transactions ensued after his LBP ATM Visa Debit Card was taken from him:

“I knew of this immediately due to an LBP alert text on my cellphone suspending the card ’as preventive measure against unauthorized transaction/s.’ I promptly filed a complaint with the LBP and despite initial rejection, the stolen amount was restituted on February 5, 2020 through a full refund,” she revealed

Although the account was compromised and despite lawyers’ advice about asset freeze under the new Anti-Terrorism Act, she said Ladlad decided to keep his LBP accounts because “these were opened purposely to facilitate the payment of compensation to him as a victim of martial law and because, should anything happen to me, he would need to shoulder his medical needs and health care.”

Lim said she went to see Diokno at the BSP last May 31 but was denied entry due to COVID protocols.

“I hope Prof. Diokno will have the fairness of mind to heed my appeal as he belongs to the same generation that experienced the brutal repression of martial law and he can’t ignore the sacrifices recognized by the very law that created this indemnification fund,” Lim said.

“Vic is now 72, and he needs his compensation funds as his heath rapidly deteriorates under political imprisonment,” Lim stressed.

She said Ladlad was diagnosed last December 2020 with Asthma-Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Overlap Syndrome, which has a higher disease burden than either asthma or COPD alone, marked by frequent exacerbations and higher mortality rate.

This latest government action of freezing his legal compensation is a gross injustice that compounds the dark history of martial law and victimizes the victim anew with greater suffering. The lifting of the AMLC’s freeze order on his compensation accounts with the LBP will rectify this injustice and assure humanitarian support for his pressing medical needs,” Lim said.

Ladlad had repeatedly denied being a terrorist and said his imprisonment is “plain political persecution” based on “trumped-up charges” involving planted firearms.

Diokno has yet to respond to Lim’s appeal. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)