Order of battle instead of safety and immunity

By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel

In an atrocious act of bad faith, the Arroyo regime is turning the list of NDFP personnel and NDFP-nominated personnel with JASIG safety and immunity guarantees into a virtual “order of battle”. On August 5, 2005, at 7:55 a.m. on Channel 2 Television, the AFP broadcast a list of those to be arrested. The list included an NDFP nominated staff of the Joint Secretariat of the JMC.

Contrary to the allegation of Prof. Carlos Medina Jr. of the GRP’s Monitoring Committee, the invalid suspension of the JASIG by the Arroyo regime and its threats to arrest and detain the NDFP’s JMC and NDFP nominated staff and volunteers of the Joint Secretariat (JS) directly and negatively affect the provisions of the CARHRIHL.

By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel

Atty. Sedfrey Candelaria of the GRP negotiating panel, following Executive Secretary Ermita, turns the provisions of the JASIG, into a direct threat of arrest, detention and prosecution of those vested with safety and immunity guarantees. Among those immediately threatened are the members of the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) of the NDFP and the NDFP-nominated staff and volunteers of the Joint Secretariat based in Quezon City.

The safety and immunity guarantees vested in these personnel who voluntarily agreed to help in monitoring the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) are arbitrarily negated by Secretary Ermita and Atty. Candelaria. These GRP officials violate the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) which was approved by the Principals of both Parties and therefore binding on all personnel of the GRP and the NDFP.

In an atrocious act of bad faith, the Arroyo regime is turning the list of NDFP personnel and NDFP-nominated personnel with JASIG safety and immunity guarantees into a virtual “order of battle”. On August 5, 2005, at 7:55 a.m. on Channel 2 Television, the AFP broadcast a list of those to be arrested. The list included an NDFP nominated staff of the Joint Secretariat of the JMC.

Contrary to the allegation of Prof. Carlos Medina Jr. of the GRP’s Monitoring Committee, the invalid suspension of the JASIG by the Arroyo regime and its threats to arrest and detain the NDFP’s JMC and NDFP nominated staff and volunteers of the Joint Secretariat (JS) directly and negatively affect the provisions of the CARHRIHL. The JMC is mandated by the CARHRIHL and its function is essential for monitoring the implementation of CARHRIHL. The JS gives necessary support to the JMC.

Ermita, Candelaria and other officials of the Arroyo regime must study carefully the JASIG in order to understand correctly the full import and scope of the protection of JASIG. They have to understand that the safety and immunity guarantees contained in the JASIG have been reciprocally extended by the GRP and the NDFP to each other’s participants in the peace negotiations. These guarantees are not unilateral concessions or favors extended by the GRP to the NDFP or to the latter’s panelists, consultants and personnel and NDFP nominated consultants, staff and volunteers.

Atty. Sedfrey Candelaria completely disregards the pertinent provision of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) when he states that with the termination or suspension of the JASIG “the safety and immunity privileges enjoyed by the 97 members of the NDF panel are suspended.”

Under II. IMMUNITY GUARANTEES, No. 1, paragraph 5, the JASIG stipulates as follows: “All immunities acquired by virtue of this Joint Agreement shall remain in full force and effect even after the termination of this Joint Agreement, …” and under No. 1, paragraph 1, the JASIG stipulates: “As used and understood in this Joint Agreement, immunity guarantees shall mean that all duly accredited persons are guaranteed immunity from surveillance, harassment, search, arrest, detention, prosecution and interrogation or any other similar punitive actions due to any involvement or participation in the peace negotiations.”

Furthermore, there is no provision in the JASIG for suspension of the JASIG. There is provision only for termination. In such case, the termination must be given in writing and since the JASIG was approved by the Principals of both parties, the written notice of termination must have the explicit approval of the Principal of the party issuing that notice of termination. We repeat this in order to demonstrate that the declaration of suspension of the JASIG by Secretary Ermita is invalid and is grossly violative of the JASIG.

The Arroyo regime will be held accountable by the people for its violations of the GRP-NDFP peace agreements, especially of the JASIG and CARHRIHL. Any harm done to those who are entitled to safety and immunity guarantees will further inflame the people against the regime.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *