Arroyo government issues anomalous charge sheet to offices of the Joint Monitoring Committee

MARISSA P. DUMANJUG-PALO
Head of Secretariat
NDFP Nominated Section of the Joint Secretariat

The charge sheet cum transmittal letter dated February 27, 2006 issued by the Arroyo government’s Philippine National Police (PNP), requesting its Department of Justice (DOJ) to take “appropriate action” against more than 50 individuals for alleged rebellion and insurrection contains many false, unfounded, dubious and incredible entries. 

MARISSA P. DUMANJUG-PALO
Head of Secretariat
NDFP Nominated Section of the Joint Secretariat

JOINT MONITORING COMMITTEE
(for the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect of Human Rights
and International Humanitarian Law)

The charge sheet cum transmittal letter dated February 27, 2006 issued by the Arroyo government’s Philippine National Police (PNP), requesting its Department of Justice (DOJ) to take “appropriate action” against more than 50 individuals for alleged rebellion and insurrection contains many false, unfounded, dubious and incredible entries.

Among others, the so-called transmittal letter recklessly puts the official address of the Joint Secretariat (JS) to the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) as the alleged address of at least 38 listed persons in said letter. It also states in Number 50, as follows: “others whose true names, affiliation, aliases or any other names stated in the attached JASIG’s list and to whom summons can be served at the Office of the Joint Monitoring Committee with postal addresses at the 6th Immaculate Multipurpose Building, Lantana Street, Cubao, Quezon City”.

For the information of everyone, the postal address of 6th Floor, Immaculate Conception Multipurpose Building, 41 Lantana St., Cubao, Quezon City is not an office of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). It is the office of the Joint Secretariat of the Joint Monitoring Committee, the body tasked to monitor the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). The JS has two sections — the GRP-nominated section and the NDFP-nominated section — that hold office in this address.

As an independent support staff of the JMC, the JS is wholly supported and funded by the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG) through the Geneva-based Center for Humanitarian Dialogue (CHD) as part of its commitment as Third Party Facilitator in the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDFP. The CHD is the lessee of the JS office space owned by the Immaculate Conception Parish School owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cubao headed by the Most Rev. Bishop Honesto Ongtioco, DD.

The names of 38 individuals in the transmittal letter that supposedly have c/o addresses at the JS are neither employed in the JS nor do they stay at the JS offices. It is grossly irresponsible for the PNP to identify the JS office as their address. In fact, it would be highly anomalous and invalid to poise service of summons or any other processes of the GRP on the JS office for the 38 individuals and “others whose true names, affiliation, aliases or any other names stated in the attached JASIG’s list.” Neither is it the task nor function of the JS to serve as the process server or sheriff of the GRP’s DOJ.

The JASIG or Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees is an agreement between the NDFP and the GRP signed on February 24, 1995, providing safety and immunity guarantees to negotiators, consultants, staffers, security and other personnel involved in the peace negotiations. The primary purpose of the JASIG is “to facilitate the peace negotiations, create a favorable atmosphere conducive to free discussion and free movement during the peace negotiations, and avert any incident that may jeopardize the peace negotiations”.

The JASIG applies to both Parties, to their appointed negotiators, consultants, staffers, security and other personnel who should not, by their mere inclusion in its coverage, be considered members of any organization of the appointing Party. Thus it is ridiculous to claim that the JASIG is an a priori evidence of rebellion, insurrection or any crime against the aforementioned persons involved in the peace negotiations. For instance, former Justice Secretary Silvestre Bello III is not presumed to have committed any crime against the people just because he is entitled to the safety and immunity guarantees provided for in the JASIG.

For the Arroyo government now to claim that those in the NDFP JASIG list are guilty of any crime and subject to arrest and prosecution is a particularly perfidious act of treachery. It seems that the GRP is indeed no longer interested in the peace negotiations.

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