Order to rearrest released NDFP peace consultants, a violation of GRP-NDFP agreement

Karapatan deplored the recent issuance of warrants of arrest against National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace negotiating panel member Benito Tiamzon and peace consultants Wilma Austria Tiamzon and Adelberto Silva as “clear and wanton forms of violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).”

The JASIG, an agreement signed by the NDFP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) that provides for guarantees for protection of rights of negotiators, consultants, staffers, security and other personnel who participate in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations from surveillance, harassment, search, arrest, detention, prosecution and interrogation or any other similar punitive actions due to any involvement or participation in the peace negotiations.

Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said the warrants are among the recent moves of the Duterte regime that undermine and sabotage the peace process and its negotiations with the NDFP. “The refusal of Duterte to move towards discussions on the substantial agenda on much needed social and economic reforms and his pronouncements and issuances declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army as terrorist organizations, in addition to its anti-people counter-insurgency and all-out war, among others, have all shown the insincerity of this murderous regime in pursuing just and lasting peace,” she said.

“The JASIG is binding and effective on both parties until it is terminated by either party through an official notice of termination to the other Party, and shall be considered terminated 30 days after receipt of the other party. The JASIG also categorically provides that the immunities shall remain in effect even after it has been terminated,” Palabay stated.

“They (NDFP consultants) should not have been arrested and detained on trumped up charges in the first place. In addition to orders to rearrest the released consultants, three peace consultants - Ferdinand Castillo, Rommel Salinas, and Promencio Cortes - were also arrested in 2017,” she added.

“Duterte will ultimately be held accountable for his crimes, including his blatant disregard of people’s rights and aspirations for just and lasting peace. His administration’s use of courts and laws to quell efforts for thoroughgoing change is exposed by the minute,” Palabay concluded.

Reference: Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831

Karapatan Public Information Desk, 0918-9790580