By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Negotiating Panel calls on the incoming administration of apparent President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III to hold Ms. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the military and civilian officials of her regime accountable for numerous gross human rights violations and blatant cases of massive corruption and plunder.
The broad masses of the people expect Aquino to fulfill his promise to carry out the investigation and prosecution of the Arroyo regime within the legal and political framework of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP). The failure of Aquino to fulfill his promise within the first 100 days of his rule will outrage the people and will once more expose the rottenness not only of the new administration but also the entire ruling system.
Aquino vigorously sought votes by pledging to investigate and prosecute Arroyo and her cohorts for the crimes that they have committed for so long. The people therefore expect Aquino to go beyond mere rhetoric in the electoral campaign and to go after Mrs. Arroyo and her cohorts. The people are determined to obtain justice and will condemn and take action against the obnoxious practice of the oligarchs of condoning each other's crimes at the expense of the people.
Holding Mrs. Arroyo accountable in response to the demands of Filipino people and the victims and their families will significantly help to improve the atmosphere for the resumption of formal peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
We issue this call in line with our firm commitment to uphold, defend and advance the fundamental interests of the Filipino people and in response to their deep aspirations for social justice, democracy and a just and lasting peace.
The NDFP stands ready to resume formal peace talks with the incoming administration on the basis of The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992, the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) of 1995 and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), among others. We are committed to address the roots of the armed conflict through fundamental economic, social and political reforms.
The Arroyo regime must be held responsible for more than a thousand extrajudicial killings, more than 200 enforced disappearances, hundreds more of frustrated killings, thousands of cases of torture, the displacement of millions of civilians in the rural and urban areas. This will be an important signal of the new administration's commitment to implement the CARHRIHL.
Firmly taking up the crimes of plunder and corruption of Mrs. Arroyo and her cohorts will entail the exposure of the basic causes of social injustice and maldevelopment, and will thus be of great benefit to the negotiations on social and economic reforms, which is the second substantive topic in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations as defined by The Hague Joint Declaration.
To recognize and honor the victims' and their families' unceasing efforts to obtain justice, and to respond effectively to the people's aspiration for a just and lasting peace, the NDFP demands that Ms. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo be held accountable for gross violations of the human rights of the Filipino people and for massive plunder and corruption.