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Laborer rebuffs PNP’s order to spy on KMU; reveals assassination plot vs NDFP consultants

A construction worker said police intelligence operatives tried recruiting him to spy on labor federation Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and help in the planned abduction and assassination of remaining National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultants.

The laborer however rejected the offer and reported the incident to his former KMU colleagues.

James (an alias), a construction laborer and a former KMU driver, said two men who identified themselves as Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group members allegedly tried to intimidate and bribe him agree to be a police spy on KMU.

In a press conference, James said he was fetched by barangay security personnel (tanod) and was taken to Barangay Banaba Hall in San Mateo, Rizal last Friday, March 19, on the pretense he needed to secure a permit for a construction project.

The victim was working at a renovation project at KMU secretary for human rights Eleanor de Guzman’s house at the time of the incident.

At the barangay hall, he was isolated in a room with the two police personnel who ordered him to return as KMU staff driver and spy for the police.

Makipagtulungan kang maayos, pagkatapos naman ay peace-peace tayo. ‘Yang pagtatrabaho mo, kayang-kaya naming ibigay ang pangangailangan mo, basta bumalik ka lang sa Balai para mag-spy,” the alleged police officers told James. (You cooperate properly, and then there would be peace between us. We will give you what you need as long as you return to Balai to spy for us.)

Balai is KMU’s national headquarters formally known as Balai Obrero (Workers’ House).

The unnamed officers told James they are particularly interested with de Guzman and her father, NDFP peace consultant Rafael Baylosis.

Assassination of peace consultants

The police told James they intend to abduct and assassinate all remaining NDFP peace consultants.

“Matagal na naming kayong minamanmanan, buti nga kami ang kausap niyo kasi may isang unit naming ang dudukot sa inyo,” James quoted the officers as saying. (We have you under surveillance for a long time. You should be grateful it is us who are talking to you because we have one unit tasked to abduct all of you.)

“Uubusin daw nila ang mga consultant,” he added. (They said they will finish off all consultants.)

James said the two officers took photos of him and demanded to reveal his phone number.

He also noticed at least eight other men on board motorcycles and heavily-tinted cars who followed him to his next destination. All vehicles did not have license plates, he added.

De Guzman and KMU national chairperson Elmer Labog said they condemn the police’s “criminal act” as direct and dangerous attacks against labor unionists and other human rights defenders.

The KMU said they are reporting the incident to the Commission on Human Rights to ask for an investigation.

Labog also called on the Supreme Court, the Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Justice to use their powers to put a stop to the killings and unjust arrests of workers and human rights defenders. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

DILG, NTF-ELCAC afraid of peace, NDFP consultant says

A National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant condemned “militarists” in the Rodrigo Duterte administration for opposing the possible resumption of formal peace negotiations between the Left and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).

NDFP consultant Rafael Baylosis in a statement Friday said those opposing attempts to resume the negotiations are afraid that the peace talks would eventually lead to a genuine just and lasting peace in the Philippines.

“This is because they are afraid it might lead to certain agreements for reforms such as the free redistribution of land to peasants and national industrialization,” Baylosis said.

“They also do not want the possible grant of general amnesty to the CPP-NPA and release of political prisoners,” he added.

‘No more talks’

In a strongly worded statement last February 21, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTC-ALCEC) denied the possibility of the peace negotiations being resumed in the last 16 months of the Rodrigo Duterte government.

“There will be no resumption of peace talks with the NDFP now or ever in as far as the Duterte Administration is concerned,” it said.

The task force said peace negotiations with the Left had always been a mistake, accusing the NDFP and its allied organizations, the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army, of having been insincere from the start.

The Department of Interior of Local Government (DILG) in a statement Wednesday, February 24, said it supports the NTF-ELCAC declaration.

“The [DILG] fully supports the position of the [NTF-ELCAC] opposing any move for the resumption of the failed peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF,” DILG officer-in-charge Usec. Bernardo C. Florece, Jr.
said.

Florece added that back channel efforts to resume peace negotiations with the NDFP are futile.

‘Their statements run counter to declarations by Duterte’s emissaries with the NDFP however.

Norway pushes for resumption

Labor secretary and former Government of the Philippines chief negotiator Silvestre Bello III revealed in a two-day online forum last week he and former Pangasinan Rep. Hernani Braganza were supposed to travel to The Netherlands last December to meet with the NDFP.

The trip did not push however as new coronavirus cases spiked in Europe since November.

Bello also revealed the Royal Norwegian Government, Third Party Facilitator to the GRP-NDFP Peace Process, had been working on back channel talks to resume the stalled formal negotiations.

He added that Duterte is again “very much inclined” to revive the negotiations the President scuttled in June 2017.

NDFP Negotiating Panel interim chairperson Juliet de Lima for her part said the planned back-channel talks would resume discussions on an interim peace agreement (IPA) that includes agreements on social and economic reforms.

IPA discussions shall also include possible coordinated unilateral ceasefire declarations as well as modes for their implementation, de Lima said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Freed NDFP consultant Raffy Baylosis thanks supporters

A day after his release from nearly a year of imprisonment, National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace consultant Rafael Baylosis attended an event for his fellow peace advocate Rey Claro Casambre at the University of the Philippines in Diliman last January 18.

Baylosis thanked his lawyers from the Public Interest Law Center, human rights groups, progressive people’s organizations, his family and friends, as well as his Sigma Rho Fraternity brothers for his freedom.

He denounced those who arrested him and the trumped up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives filed against him and companion Guillermo Roque.

Baylosis files contempt charges against warden

Detained National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultant Rafael Baylosis filed  a petition for indirect contempt Friday against the warden of the Metro Manila District Jail-4 for refusing to release him despite a court order.

In his petition filed at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (QC-RTC), Baylosis said Jail Chief Inspector Jojie Jonathan Pangan’s refusal to release him is an act constituting improper conduct.

Pangan’s snub of the court order tend to impede, obstruct, or degrade the administration of justice, is disobedience to a lawful order, and tantamount to disrespect to the authority of the court, Baylosis said.

Branch 100 of the QC-RTC ordered Baylosis’s release last June 14 upon his posting of a bail bond to allow him to participate in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.

Baylosis’s release order is valid and existing despite yet another cancellation of formal talks between the NDFP and the Rodrigo Duterte government, Baylosis’s lawyer and Public Interest Law Center (PILC) managing counsel Rachel Pastores said in a statement.

“[Baylosis] has no warrant of arrest in any other case. So there’s no reason for the jail warden to disobey the release order,” Pastores said.

“His continued, unreasonable refusal to implement it is a contemptuous act which not only violates Baylosis’ rights.  It clearly shows disdain of the court which must be punished,” Pastores explained.

“The warden is not above the law.  He is mandated to follow the rules and the law. It is in the public interest that warden’s willful defiance of a court order be sanctioned,” she stressed.

Baylosis was to participate in the scheduled preliminary meetings and formal talks in The Netherlands and Norway earlier this month as a member of the NDFP’s Ceasefire Committee.

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process as well as the Department of Justice has reportedly posed no objection to the PILC’s petition for bail for Baylosis to allow him to negotiate the aborted coordinated unilateral ceasefire (CUC) between the NDFP and GRP.

Baylosis has been part of the peace negotiations in various capacities since 1996.

Arrested with a companion in Quezon City last February, Baylosis is facing charges of illegal possession of firearm and explosive at RTC Quezon City, Branch 100.

Pastores said the charges are trumped up by the Philippine National Police. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)