Violations of JASIG and CARHRIHL by GPH from Arroyo regime to the present must be discussed

By FIDEL V. AGCAOILI
Spokesperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel

In the next round of formal talks, the Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) will present to the Negotiating Panel of the Government of the Philippines (GPH, formerly designated as GRP ) the history and continuity of violations of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantee (JASIG) and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) by the GRP/GPH from the regime of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) to the current one of Benigno S. Aquino III.

The NDFP expects that these violations would be acknowledged, discussed and rectified so that the peace negotiations can lead to the formal meetings of the Reciprocal Working Committees on Social and Economic Reforms (RWCs SER). The life of the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations depends on compliance with JASIG. If there is no compliance with JASIG, the GPH cannot be trusted that it will comply with any other agreement.

The non-compliance with and brazen violations of JASIG by GRP/GPH since the GMA regime have been carried over, continued and further extended by the Aquino regime.  The brazen violations include the following: the so-called suspension of the JASIG and the conversion of the list of JASIG-protected individuals into a manhunt list in 2004 and the connivance in 2007 between the GRP/GPH and the Dutch government in arresting Prof. Jose Maria Sison, the Chief Political Consultant of the NDFP, and raiding seven residences, resulting in the fouling up of the decryption code and non-return of the most important diskette for the decrypting of the photographs in the deposit box.

The connivance between the GRP/GPH and the Dutch government in trumping up charges and arresting Prof. Sison is narrated in the 4 September 2007 memo sent by US ambassador Kenny to the State Department reporting on the visit of then Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Romulo to her residence for a private breakfast. It is also evident in the report that the US government was an interested party because the false testimonies against Prof. Sison were fabricated in the US and Dutch embassies in Manila.

Even if there would be formal talks of the negotiating panels in case of the release of all or most of the 17 JASIG-protected individuals (as of February 2011), the NDFP cannot proceed to any matter without first establishing the history and continuity of the JASIG violations by GRP/GPH and its agreeing on rectification measures. The current malicious tactic of GPH/GRP and its chief negotiator Alexander Padilla is to keep on twisting and spinning the terms of the Oslo Joint Statements to project the lie that the GRP/GPH has no obligations under JASIG and that the political prisoners, including the JASIG-protected persons, have been properly tried and judged and cannot be released.

There is therefore one more prejudicial question aside from JASIG.  The GRP/GPH from Arroyo to Aquino must be held to account for violations of CARHRIHL, such as the following: the continuing unjust imprisonment of about 350 alleged political offenders on trumped up charges of common crimes and the overly prolonged evasion of compensation for the 9,500 victims of human rights violations under the Marcos regime.

The GPH/GRP is deliberately trying to tie down the NDFP on the issue of releasing only a few JASIG-protected persons in order to draw away attention from the unjust imprisonment of 350 political prisoners whose release by general amnesty has already been demanded by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and other respected institutions, organizations and personages.

The NDFP will demand the rectification of the gross violations of both JASIG and CARHRIHL before any formal meetings of the RWCs SER.  The GPH/GRP should not be allowed to gloss over these gross violations and run away with the torture, enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings of JASIG-protected individuals like Leo Velasco, Prudencio Calubid, Rogelio Calubad, Sotero Llamas and others, as well as hundreds of others without JASIG protection.

The GPH/GRP is more interested in attacking and jumbling all previous agreements made in order to scuttle the peace negotiations, blame the NDFP for scuttling these and justify the US-designed Oplan Bayanihan, a brutal military campaign of suppression thinly masked as a peace and development plan.

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