By FIDEL V. AGCAOILI
Spokesperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
Chairperson, NDFP Human Rights Committee
As so well pointed out by Prof. Jose Maria Sison, chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), Gloria M. Arroyo, de facto president of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) lacks the political will to engage the NDFP in serious peace negotiations.
She allows one group of her subordinates headed by GRP Negotiating Panel Chairperson Nieves Confesor to posture as working for peace negotiations, and the other group of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Secretary Avelino Razon of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), and other militarists to brazenly sabotage every prospect of resuming the formal talks in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. The flagrant disarray of the two groups makes Arroyo look like someone with a split personality.
Razon is lying when he claims that the NDFP has demanded the removal of impediments on only four political consultants and that the GRP has complied with the JASIG. In fact, the GRP has generated new impediments and has wilfully violated the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) despite the GRP announcement of respecting and complying with the JASIG, starting on 17 July, 2009.
The GRP has not fulfilled its commitment in the 15 June agreement to comply with the JASIG, to remove within the month of July the impediments on all NDFP consultants who are detained or are subjects of warrants of arrest and to use the release of Danilo Borjal in 1997 as the model for expeditious release. The 15 June agreement also involved the commitment of the GRP to release the JASIG-protected persons and those ordered released in 2001 and 2004 and to withdraw or recall the false charges against NDFP panelists and consultants.
Razon is blatantly lying when he claims that Elizabeth Principe and Randall Echanis have been released in compliance with the JASIG and the June 15 agreement. Principe was released by virtue of her legal victories in court and the military even tried to block her release. The conditional release of Echanis for six months is a violation of JASIG and not in compliance with it. The sham safe conduct passes issued in the cases of Rafael Baylosis and Vicente Ladlad incriminate and convict them, serve as their death warrant and are a brazen violation of the JASIG.
The GRP is in zero compliance with and in clear violation of the JASIG and 15 June agreement. The NDFP is now therefore proposing that a meeting be held in Oslo within the first week of September between the NDFP and GRP Negotiating Panels and their respective teams of lawyers in order to put in writing the methods for the expeditious removal of GRP-made impediments on the NDFP panelists and consultants, the withdrawal of false charges and the release of detained NDFP consultants, the JASIG-protected persons and those whose release was ordered in 2001 and 2004.
If the results of the proposed meeting will result in a mutually satisfactory written agreement before 5 September, then there will be a good chance of having a two-day preparatory meeting of the panels on more issues and proceeding to the resumption of formal talks. Otherwise the NDFP will decide to wait for the next GRP administration in order to pursue peace negotiations.