NDFP condemns break-ins and hold-up of consultants and staff

Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel

The Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) condemns the two break-ins and the hold up of its Consultants and NDFP Nominated Staff in the Joint Secretariat. All three are protected by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). All three play a role in the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations.

In the night of 9 February 2013, Ms. Rose Tumbagahon, member of the NDFP Nominated Section of the Joint Secretariat (JS) was riding in a jeepney. A gun was pointed at her and papers and her bag were taken by the assailants. No other passenger in the jeepney was threatened. Her bag contained her key to the JS office, her cell phone, and USB flash drives.

In the same night, Mr. Rey Claro Casambre, NDFP Consultant, and his wife returned home to find that it had been ransacked. The lock to the house door had been broken. His laptop computers and one old USB flash drive were stolen, together with some cash.

Atty. Rachel Pastores, NDFP Legal Consultant, found her residence broken into and her laptop computers and USB flash drives taken. This happened last September 2012 while she was at the burial of Atty. Romeo T. Capulong, the NDFP Chief Legal Counsel.

These hostile actions against persons connected with the NDFP Negotiating Panel and its activities in the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations have all the hallmarks of a military intelligence operation. Though the appearance of robbery may be given, it lacks credibility in the stealing of USB flash drives which are of no monetary value.

Atty. Rachel Pastores and Mr. Rey Claro Casambre are covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) since they are publicly known to participate in the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations. They have been to Oslo several times for the peace talks. Ms. Tumbagahon has been issued a Document of Identification as a Staff Member of the NDFP-Nominated Section of the JS.

The Aquino government is duty bound to see to it that JASIG protected persons are not subjected to surveillance, harassment or other punitive actions due to any involvement or participation in the peace negotiations. Failure to provide protection to those involved in the peace negotiations puts at risk the peace negotiations. Such failure indicates that the peace negotiations with the NDFP are not a priority of the Aquino government. It shows no political will to advance the peace negotiations in order to address the root causes of the armed conflict.

Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel

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