GRP’s Arsenal of Dubious Legal Tools Against NDFP Peace Consultants (and Activists)

By Edre U. Olalia
Legal Consultant, NDFP Negotiating Panel
10 November 2018

  1. TERMINATE THE PEACE NEGOTIATIONS. Do this swiftly by mere unilateral presidential proclamation and lay the blame on the NDFP for their insincerity and unwillingness to surrender without addressing the reasons why there is an armed conflict. Add and harp on a litany of unaccepable conditions to make the resumption practically impossible. No need to inform the NDFP formally so it cannot controvert it and object through official channels.
  2. DECLARE THE CPP AND NPA AS TERRORISTS. Do this without judicial vetting and demonize them as criminals despite their adherence to international laws of armed conflict as a belligerent force.
  3. TERMINATE THE JASIG. Unilaterally terminate an agreement that protects negotiators, consultants, staffers and security of the NDFP even without the required formal advance written notice. Discard the agreed-upon grace period for its effectivity.
  4. DISREGARD THE CONSULTANTS’ IMMUNITIES. Decide to unilaterally violate the safety and immunity guarantees of peace consultants against surveillance, arrest, and detention by arguing that these end after the unilateral ternination of the peace talks. Make sure to file trumped-up charges to show that they are being arrested for common crimes unrelated to their role in the peace negotiations.
  5. FILE NON-BAILABLE CHARGES. Routinely manufacture and plant evidence. Use the standard narrative not merely of illegal possession of firearms but illegal possession of explosives to prolong illegal detention as this is non-bailable.
  6. GO THROUGH THE MOTIONS OF A SEARCH WARRANT. To preclude any accusation of illegality of a search for non-existent firearms or explosives, go through the motions and apply for a search warrant with a judge. In case one forgets to include non-existent explosives in the application or inventory, pretend they were found in “plain view” so another search warrant is unnecessary.
  7. IGNORE THE POLITICAL OFFENSE DOCTRINE. File all sorts of common crimes: murder, arson, robbery, kidnapping, illegal possession of firearms, explosives and even drugs for their political acts. Do not file political charges of rebellion or sedition because they might invoke these as covered by their immunities or they may just bail themselves out (even if the presidential spokesperson is confused or confusing on this). And don’t ever call them political prisoners but criminal elements.
  8. INVOKE THE PRESUMPTION OF REGULARITY. Make this presumption in the performance of official acts as conclusive. Shift the burden that there are violations of basic constitutional rights, torture, illegal arrests and fabrication of evidence to the arrested consultant. When applicable, wait for a while for badges of torture to disappear. Delay up to the last allowable legal period the presentation for inquest proceedings before a fiscal. Meanwhile, try to display them as trophies on a birthday of a top official (if wives and lawyers don’t stand in the way). Ensure the spot report, affidavits of arrest and forensic reports jibe with each other so the inquest would be a breeze and appear in order.
  9. MAXIMIZE THE JOHN DOES. Choose any or a combination in the charge: (a) replace a real name into a generic name; (b) substitute the real name of the arrested with the real name of another named accused yet to be arrested; (c) insert a totally new real name; or (d) add another fictitious name and say the arrested person is one and the same.
  10. PRODUCE FALSE, COACHED AND PROFESSIONAL WITNESSES. Use them in different cases in different places and courts. Make sure they can positively identify the arrested among 30 unknown people the witness has seen for a few fleeting seconds at night in the forests.
  11. INVOKE LEGAL FICTION. Jurisprudence dating back to Marcos’ martial law says an arrest, even if illegal and baseless at first, is cured or legalized by the subsequent filing of charges in court and, therefore, a legal suit to question the arrest and seek immediate liberty will almost always be dismissed. Also, in the rare cases political charges of rebellion are filed instead of common crimes, remember that rebellion, according to jurisprudence, is supposedly a continuing crime and, therefore, do not worry about conducting a warrantless arrest even if the accused is sleeping or doing his personal routine.
  12. PROSCRIBE AS TERRORISTS. Use the draconian law on terrorism and include consultants with hundreds of activists, UN officials, the dead, the missing and human rights defenders in a shotgun yet sloppy proscription case of so-called terrorist groups for acts they do not even know. Then you can surveill, sequester and seize. Finally, throw in a poorly-written destabilization plot for good measure.