By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, Negotiating Panel
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines vigorously condemns the Aquino regime’s system of injustice for sentencing NDFP Consultant Eduardo Sarmiento. His arrest, detention and sentencing are flagrant violations of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), signed and approved by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the NDFP in 1995. The JASIG guarantees all participants in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations immunity from surveillance, harassment, search, arrest, detention, prosecution and interrogation, or any other punitive actions.
The gross violation of the rights of NDFP Consultant Eduardo Sarmiento exposes again the Aquino regime’s lack of respect for the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). This agreement signed and approved by the GRP and the NDFP in 1998 stipulates that political prisoners charged, detained or convicted in violation of the Hernandez political offense doctrine of 1956 ought to be released. This provision against the criminalization of political offenses is violated by the Aquino regime in the case of Eduardo Sarmiento and more than 400 political prisoners. (CARHRIHL, Part III, Respect for Human Rights, Art. 6)
The Aquino regime likewise shows no respect for the following article in CARHRIHL which lists repressive decrees such as the Marcos decree, P.D. 1866 as amended, which ought to be repealed. This repressive decree of the Marcos dictatorship is used by the Aquino regime and its Regional Trial Court to convict and sentence NDFP Consultant Eduardo Sarmiento to 40 years imprisonment.
The NDFP calls on human rights and peace advocate organizations in the Philippines and abroad to launch an effective campaign for the release of NDFP Consultant Eduardo Sarmiento, other NDFP detained consultants, and political prisoners.