Fidel V. Agcaoili, Chairperson NDFP Negotiating Panel
Press Statement | March 25, 2019
Frank Fernandez is a publicly known consultant of the NDFP in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations as NDFP spokesperson in Negros. He holds Document of Identification Number PP 978544 as provided for in the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).
The JASIG is an agreement between the two Parties in armed conflict. It has been duly approved by their respective Principals. And there is a required protocol for its termination. So, no matter how many times President Rodrigo Duterte unilaterally flip-flops from resuming and then terminating the peace talks, the JASIG remains in full force and effect unless otherwise terminated according to the terms of the agreement. In fact the immunity guarantees of Frank Fernandez extends even after the actual termination of the peace talks.
Moreover, Frank Fernandez, who is 71 years old and has been ill for some time, had to come down from Negros for medical treatment, accompanied by his wife, Cleofe Lagtapon, and a companion, Gee-Ann Perez. For humanitarian considerations alone, he should not have been arrested and allowed to receive unhampered medical treatment. With his unjust arrest, the Duterte regime runs the risk of adding another detainee to the list of three political prisoners who died in prison from June 2016, in violation of international humanitarian law and the minimum prison standards recognized by civilized nations.
Frank Fernandez and his companions were reported to have been arrested last Sunday in Nagcarlan, Laguna. However, details of where they are incarcerated are still unclear. This poses grave danger to their health and lives. Its incumbent upon their custodial units to forthwith present Frank Fernandez and his companions to their relatives and lawyers in order for him to receive his medicines and assure that their rights and well-being are respected.
We demand that Frank Fernandez and his companions be released immediately as a matter of principle, justice and humanity.###