By: Delfin T. Mallari Jr. – @inquirerdotnet | November 18, 201
LUCENA CITY – Without President Rodrigo Duterte’s assurance on their safety and protection, the leaders of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) based overseas may cancel their scheduled return to the country to work for the possible resumption of the peace talks.
Exiled Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison said Sunday that NDFP chair Fidel Agcaoili will leave Utrecht, The Netherlands for his homecoming trip to the Philippines on Monday (Nov. 19) “if there will be no threats” of his possible arrest.
“But Louie and Coni had already decided not to return to the Philippines due to threats of arrest from General Año (Interior Secretary Eduardo Año),” Sison, now serving as NDFP chief political consultant, said in an online interview.
Louie is Luis Jalandoni, former NDFP chair and chief peace negotiator and now serves as senior adviser to the group, while Coni Ledesma, his spouse, is a member of the NDFP peace panel.
Sison, like the rest of NDFP leaders, also resides in Utrecht.
But Sison said Agcaoili may also cancel his scheduled return to the country since the President has yet to give his assurance that returning NDFP leaders would not be bothered or harassed by the Philippine National Police (PNP) or the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) during their stay in the Philippines.
“Fidel also feels insecure and wants to be assured that there will be no threat against him from the military or police despite assurance of safety from (Presidential peace adviser) Jess Dureza and Bebot Bello (Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and government chief peace negotiator) that there is no pending charge against him,” he said.
Over the weekend, Dureza said preparations were already being made for the homecoming of NDFP leaders. He said he had checked and found that the Agcaoili and Jalandoni had no pending warrant of arrests.
He added that the petition filed at the Department of Justice to declare the CPP, its armed wing New People’s Army, and the NDFP as terrorist groups remain pending.
But for Año, the two communist leaders have both pending warrants of arrest and will have them arrested unless President Duterte orders him not to effect the arrest.
Quoting information from the PNP, Año alleged that Agcaoili and Jalandoni had a pending warrant of arrests on criminal charges in Quezon province.
Sison added that the lawyers of the NDFP fear that there might be court summons waiting for Jalandoni and Ledesma since they are included in the list of 600 proscription case connected with Proclamation 374.
Sison reiterated that the NDFP has a consistent policy of being open to peace negotiations with the government, whoever is the president, to obtain social, economic and political reforms as the basis of a just and lasting peace.
The peace talks between the government and the NDFP ended after the President signed Proclamation No. 360 in November 2017.
‘Informal meeting’ with NDFP leaders is a go — Dureza