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CPP demands release of JASIG-protected NDFP peace consultant in Bicol

By CPP Information Bureau

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) denounced the successive arrests of NDFP Bicol Region peace consultant George Villacorta Geluz and a member of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines – Bicol peace staff Silvestre Layones. Geluz was arrested in Gumaca, Quezon at around 11 pm of 8 February, while Layones was accosted in the early morning hours later outside Naga City.

“The arrest of another NDFP peace consultant and a member of the NDFP peace staff comprise further blows by the Aquino regime on peace negotiations with the NDFP and exemplify its gross contempt of efforts in resolving the roots of the raging civil war,” said the CPP.

The CPP asserted that the arrests of Geluz and Layones are in direct violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) which secures personages involved in peace negotiations against surveillance, arrest, incarceration, prosecution, and other punitive acts. The JASIG was signed both by the NDFP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines in 1995, in order to create conditions favorable for peace talks.

“The Aquino regime has repeatedly violated the JASIG in arresting NDFP consultants and refusing to release them in accordance with the agreement,” said the CPP. “By prolonging the detention of NDFP peace consultants, refusing to recognize their rights under JASIG and charging them with common crimes in order to conceal the political nature of their arrests, Aquino has effectively hostaged the peace negotiations in the vain hope of compelling the NDFP to surrender to the reactionary regime.”

According to CPP records, Geluz is among the peace consultants of the NDFP holding documents of identification. As his assistant, Layones is also extended protection by the JASIG.

The CPP demands the immediate release of Geluz and Layones. “All trumped-up criminal charges filed against Geluz must be immediately withdrawn.” Layones, meanwhile, has yet to be informed of the criminal charges against him.

Citing reports by the NDFP in Bicol, the CPP said both Geluz and Layones were busy conducting a series of consultations with the destitute people of Bicol, in order to draw attention to their urgent demands which should be addressed in peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH), specifically on the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER).

With Geluz’s arrest, there are now 12 NDFP peace consultants incarcerated as political detainees. NDFP Cebu consultant Ramon Patriarca was recently released after five years of detention when local courts dismissed rebellion charges filed against him.

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