NDFP Media Office
The NDFP Negotiating Panel has formally raised with the GRP Negotiating Panel its complaints over the continuing violations by the GRP of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). These violations place into serious question the sincerity of the GRP in its peace negotiations with the NDFP. For if previously signed agreements are not honored, what guarantees does the NDFP have that future agreements would not be similarly violated by the GRP?
The NDFP Negotiating Panel cited the following cases:
- Three JASIG-protected NDFP consultants, namely Eduardo Sarmiento, Emeterio Antalan and Leopoldo Caloza were arrested and convicted on trumped-up charges. To facilitate their release and enable them to participate in the ongoing GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, the GRP panel suggested that the consultants withdraw their appeals to pave the way for the granting of presidential pardon. As a result, their conviction became final. But until now, they have not been pardoned and continue to languish in prison. This is not only a violation of CARHRIHL and JASIG but also a serious betrayal of trust.
- Since August 2016, several of the recently released JASIG-protected consultants have been subjected to surveillance and harassment by motorcycle-riding men. Despite a protest filed with the GRP panel, the surveillance and harassment continued, obliging the consultants to take counter measures. Under JASIG, NDFP personnel involved in the peace negotiations are protected from surveillance and harassment and have the right to carry firearms as a means to secure their own safety.
- The NDFP has demanded justice for the enforced disappearance of JASIG-protected persons Leo Velasco, Prudencio Calubid, his wife and relatives; Rogelio Calubad and his son; Nestor Entice and his wife; Leopoldo Ancheta; and Philip Limjoco; as well as the murder of Sotero Llamas. These war crimes were committed during the time of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. To date, the GRP has not taken any action on this just demand.
- Despite the unilateral ceasefire declared by the GRP, its military and police forces have continued with their military operations against communities suspected to be under the control of, influenced by, or sympathetic to, the revolutionary movement on the pretext of conducting so-called peace and development projects. They occupy schools, health and day care centers, barangay halls, public plazas, and even bus stops and private residences in more than 43 provinces and 146 municipalities all over the country. They conduct illegal searches and interrogations to identify relatives of NPA members as well as supporters and sympathizers of the revolutionary movement to terrorize the people. They impose food blockades and restrictions on the movement of residents, disrupting their economic activities.
- The GRP’s war on drugs has raised concerns from reputable human rights and lawyers’ organizations like KARAPATAN and NUPL over the killing of innocent people due to brutal, reckless and indiscriminate methods employed by the police in its anti-drug operations. In addition, the war on drugs deals only with the symptom and not the disease which is poverty. President Duterte must shift his priority to solving the bigger problem of poverty through the necessary social and economic reforms that are the main focus of the third round of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.
- Close to 400 political detainees continue to languish in various detention facilities nationwide. Most of them have been slapped with trumped-up criminal cases, making their continued detention a violation of the Hernandez political offense doctrine enshrined in both the CARHRIHL and the GRP’s laws. President Duterte himself has pledged to put a stop to the practice of criminalizing political dissent in compliance with the Hernandez political offense doctrine.
- Victims of human rights violations under the Marcos martial law regime have not been rendered justice and indemnified, in violation of the CARHRIHL.
- The hero’s burial accorded to Ferdinand Marcos virtually completes the political rehabilitation of the Marcoses and the revision of the historical judgment against the crimes of the Marcos family. Justice to the Marcos victims has become even more remote.
- These grave violations of the CARHRIHL and JASIG and the broken promises on the release of political prisoners have made the extension of the NDFP’s unilateral ceasefire untenable. The prospect for forging a bilateral ceasefire agreement has grown dim.
- The ball is in the GRP’s court. It must release all political prisoners in compliance with CARHRIHL and JASIG and fulfill the oft-repeated promises of President Duterte and his subalterns in the GRP Negotiating Panel. It must stop its continuing violation of both CARHRIHL and JASIG so that the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations can go forward in completing the Comprehensive Agreements on Social and Economic Reforms (SER) and Political and Constitutional Reforms (PCR); proceed to their implementation; and pave the way for just and lasting peace.
FIDEL V. AGCAOILI
NDFP Negotiating Panel
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