Manila government is in violation of 15 June agreement

By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel

The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) is in gross violation of the agreement of the GRP and NDFP Negotiating Panels last June 15 to remove the impediments on NDFP consultants by using the most expeditious procedure on the basis of precedents, as in the previous releases of NDFP consultants Sotero Llamas in 1996 and Danilo Borjal in 1997, in compliance with the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

Until now the GRP has failed to release any of the detained NDFP consultants and to quash charges against those with warrants of arrest. Contrary to the claims of OPAPP Secretary Avelino Razon, Elizabeth Principe was actually released not because of the June 15 agreement but because of her legal victories over a series of false charges against her in various courts.

Because of the GRP violation of the aforesaid agreement, it is now doubtful whether the meetings scheduled for August 28 to September 5 in Oslo would be held. There are strong indications that the GRP intends to scuttle the resumption of formal talks. The GRP has shown bad faith and has cramped the material time for the arrangement of travel documents of the NDFP consultants.

Another major indication that the GRP wants to scuttle the Oslo meeting is the obvious attempt to freeze in the Supreme Court the question of releasing Randall Echanis and to make difficult or impossible the release of other detained NDFP consultants. It is also extremely malicious that the release of Echanis is limited to six months and that he is made a GRP-hostaged consultant.

It is therefore absolutely necessary for the lawyers of Echanis to make a countermanifestation to the manifestation of the office of the Solicitor General for his conditional release. Like all the other consultants, Echanis has been subjected to false charges in violation of the JASIG and is now kept in prison also in violation of the JASIG.

So far, the GRP officials have been issuing press releases conjuring the illusion that it is doing its part to pave the way for the resumption of formal talks. So long as the GRP does not comply expeditiously with JASIG in accordance with the June 15 agreement, the GRP is in fact scuttling the Oslo meeting this month and probably the entire peace negotiations.

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