After one year, Ka Bart continues to languish in prison in violation of peace agreement — CPP

By CPP Information Bureau

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today assailed the continued detention of National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant and NDFP Southern Tagalog representative Tirso “Ka Bart” Alcantara. Ka Bart was arrested on January 3, 2011 in violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

The CPP recalled that Ka Bart was arrested just days before the resumption of formal peace talks early last year. “His arrest by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was a direct assault on the peace process. His continued detention as well as the continuing incarceration of 12 other NDFP consultants underscore the failure of the Philippine government to fulfill its obligations in its peace negotiations with the NDFP.”

Other consultants of the NDFP who remain detained in various prison facilities include Alan Jazmines, Randy Malayao, Edgardo Friginal, Eduardo Serrano, Eduardo Sarmiento, Leopoldo Caloza, Emeterio Antalan, Ramon Patriarca, Danilo Badayos, Alfredo Mapano, Pedro Codaste and Edwin Brigano. They are among more than 350 political prisoners still languishing in jail. Seventy of these prisoners were arrested under the Aquino regime.

“In negotiations with the NDFP, the Aquino regime has repeatedly promised to expedite the release of the NDFP consultants in order to allow them to carry out their duties in the peace negotiations,” said the CPP. “Such a commitment was made three times in the past year, twice in signed agreements in January and February, and once in consultation with the Norwegian third-party facilitator in September.”

“To push forward the peace negotiations between the NDFP and the Philippine government, the CPP and all revolutionary forces reiterate the demand for the immediate release of Ka Bart and all other NDFP consultants,” said the CPP. “The Aquino regime continues to condone violations of the JASIG and has resorted to vulgarizing the standing agreements with the NDFP in the hope of pushing the revolutionary forces away from the negotiating table and putting an end to the peace negotiations.”

“By failing to fulfill its obligation to release Ka Bart and all other NDFP peace consultants, the Aquino regime bares its lack of interest in pursuing the peace negotiations,” said the CPP. “It is only interested in using the peace talks as a tool for the capitulation and pacification of the revolutionary forces within the framework of its Oplan Bayanihan war of suppression.”

“Under Oplan Bayanihan, the Aquino regime commits gross violations of human rights as stipulated in the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL),” said the CPP.