By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
The Royal Norwegian Government (RNG) and peace advocates declare support for the willingness of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to hold informal peace talks with the Aquino government (GPH). But GPH President Aquino runs the risk of destroying chances for a negotiated peace with the NDFP by certain actions of his in violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).
President Aquino’s appointment of former Philippine National Police General Lina Sarmiento as Chairperson of the Victims’ Claimants Board and the exclusion of genuine representatives of the almost 10,000 victims of human rights violations under the Marcos dictatorship, constitute an act to sabotage the GPH-NDFP peace talks. The CARHRIHL of 1998 solemnly recognizes the rights of the thousands of victims to be compensated through their rightful representatives. The exclusion of SELDA and other genuine representatives of the victims in the Claims Board is condemnable.
The Aquino government, through Secretary Teresita Deles of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, and GPH Negotiating Panel Chair Alexander Padilla, has attacked the framework and foundation agreement of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, The Hague Joint Declaration, as “a document of perpetual division”. It has grossly violated the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) by arresting and detaining NDFP Consultants and JASIG-protected NDFP personnel.
Furthermore, Aquino has attacked the Amado Hernandez political offense doctrine, stipulated in the CARHRIHL, by arresting hundreds of political prisoners and charging them with common crimes in violation of said doctrine and the CARHRIHL.
The Aquino regime renders impossible the negotiations on social and economic reforms by declaring through Deles and Padilla that land reform and national industrialization are “ideologically charged concepts”, and therefore cannot be part of the agenda of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.
With only a little over two years left of his presidential term, GPH President Aquino runs the risk of leaving a legacy as the one who killed the peace talks with the NDFP.