Arrests, harassment vs peace consultants, negotiator intensify

June 3, 2015

NDFP negotiating panel chief Luis Jalandoni <b>Boy Bagwis</b>

NDFP negotiating panel chief Luis Jalandoni Boy Bagwis

Human rights group Karapatan scored the Aquino administration for arresting another peace consultant to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Karapatan said peace consultant Adelberto Silva, 67, was arrested by combined elements of military intelligence units as well as the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on June 1 in Molino, Bacoor, Cavite. He was arrested along with his wife, Rosanna Cabusao, and another companion, Isidro de Lima.

Silva, as an NDFP peace consultant, is protected by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig), and was arrested while holding a Jasig identification under the assumed name Percival Rojo. Aside from being a peace consultant, Silva was a long-time trade union organizer and is a currently consultant of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), according to Karapatan.

Cabusao, meanwhile, was a member of the women’s alliance Gabriela and a one-time member of the editorial board of Pinoy Weekly in 2002. She is also currently a researcher and consultant for the independent labor institution Crispin B. Beltran Resource Center.

Rossana "Sharon" Cabusao, at the Pinoy Weekly office in 2004. <b>PW File Photo</b>

Rosanna “Sharon” Cabusao, at the Pinoy Weekly office in 2004. PW File Photo

Government prosecutors have charged Silva with the same multiple murder cases in Aparri, Cagayan and Laoang, Northern Samar as that against peace consultants Wilma and Benito Tiamzon. The authorities also charged the three with illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

“(The arrest of Silva shows) how the GPH (Philippine government) continues to undermine the peace process by disregarding Jasig and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law because of the trumped up charges filed against peace consultants,” said Palabay.

Palabay added that the evidences against them were “planted during the raid by the CIDG”. She said that the practice of planting evidence against individuals accused of involvement in the revolutionary movement must stop.

Karapatan said that such practice of planting evidence was also monitored in the arrest and detention by military and police elements of another peace consultant and 12 individuals in Caloocan and Quezon City this March.

Luis Jalandoni, together with wife and fellow NDFP negotiator Coni Ledesma, in a press forum sponsored by PinoyMedia Center last April 2015. <b>Boy Bagwis</b>

Luis Jalandoni, together with wife and fellow NDFP negotiator Coni Ledesma, in a press forum sponsored by PinoyMedia Center last April 2015. Boy Bagwis

Harassment vs Jalandoni

The NDFP’s chief political consultant, Prof. Jose Maria Sison, meanwhile, cried foul over the Aquino administration’s alleged harassment and threats against Luis Jalandoni, head of the NDFP negotiating panel.

“In sharp contrast to previous regimes, the Aquino regime has emerged as the worst violator of the Jasig by harassing Jalandoni with an invalid and improperly served subpoena and threatening to arrest and imprison him on trumped up charges of nonbailable common crimes, such as “kidnapping and serious illegal detention of four named policemen (captured by the NPA on July 10, 2014 in Surigao del Norte and released on July 29, 2014) and violation of R.A. No. 9851 (Crime against Humanitarian Law and other Crimes against Humanity),” said Sison.

He said that Jalandoni has headed NDFP’s peace negotiations with the Philippine government since the 1990s, and has visited the Philippines many times for consultations and family visits. He and his wife, the fellow NDFP peace negotiator Coni Ledesma, are based in the international office of the NDFP in The Netherlands.

Sison added that the Aquino administration is “the most malicious of all regimes” by asking for Jalandoni’s help for the release of policemen arrested by the New People’s Army (NPA) last year. Now, this same administration “is hurling…false charges of common crimes” in connection with the policemen’s arrest by the NPA.

He pointed out that Interior Sec. Manuel Roxas III and GPH peace panelist Hernani Braganza sought Jalandoni’s help for the policemen’s release. Roxas, together with Defense Sec. Voltaire Gazmin and Office of the President for Peace Process (Opapp) Sec. Teresita Deles, was present during the NPA’s release of the arrested policemen.

“It is reprehensible that the Aquino regime is acting viciously and maliciously by violating the safety and immunity guarantees that protect Luis Jalandoni and by misrepresenting as a crime the facilitation done by Jalandoni to help realize the humanitarian act and goodwill measure of the NDFP in causing the release of the four policemen and seeking to improve the atmosphere for the resumption of formal talks in the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations,” Sison said.

Sison added that the attacks against Jalandoni came at a time when he just recommended to the NDFP Executive Committee “to give permission to the NDFP Negotiating Panel to undertake exploratory talks prior to formal talks, despite the recent outburst of Aquino against the NDFP and (me).”

He called on the Aquino administration to respect Jasig and allow Jalandoni’s safe passage to his negotiating post and office in the Netherlands in order that the exploratory talks will proceed “and not be disrupted by petty-minded and malicious obstructions.”