Communist Party of the Philippines protests arrest of NDFP consultant Alfredo Mapano

By CPP Information Bureau

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today denounced the Arroyo regime and its military and police establishments for the arrest of National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace negotiations consultant Alfredo Mapano, despite the regime's supposed restoration recently of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

The JASIG, an accord signed by both the NDFP and GRP in 1995 guarantees peace panel members, consultants, staff and all others involved in the peace negotiations security and immunity from arrest, detention and other antagonistic military and legal actions.

Formal peace talks between the NDFP and the GRP have been suspended since 2004, with the NDFP charging the GRP for its continuing disregard and outright violations of previous accords, including the JASIG.

On the invitation of the GRP through informal talks, the NDFP consented to resume the peace talks starting this month, after the Arroyo government offered to lift its suspension of the JASIG; dismantle a Malacañang office created to manufacture and slap charges against CPP, NDFP leaders and even progressive leaders in the legal arena; and remove previous preconditions and obstacles it had put up, such as an indefinite, prolonged ceasefire before and during the talks.

As admitted by Northern Mindanao PNP Chief Supt. Danilo Empedrado, joint police and military operatives arrested Mapano in Cagayan de Oro City at around 8 p.m. on August 1 and brought him to the PNP Maharlika Detention Center. The CPP said that Mapano, who operates in the North Central Mindanao base of the CPP and NDFP was then en route to visit his wife and children and to attend consultations with other NDFP leaders and consultants in preparation for the resumption of formal peace talks between the NDFP and the GRP slated to take place in Norway this month.

The CPP said that the arrest of Mapano reveals the insincerity of the Arroyo regime's supposed lifting of its unilateral suspension of the JASIG to pave the way for the resumption of peace talks.

"The Arroyo government and its military and police forces have to show respect for its own promises and release Mapano immediately. All the things confiscated from him must be returned, including his laptop computer. Mapano's arrest is already a big slap to the peace process and keeping him further under detention only makes a mockery of the resumption of the formal peace talks," the CPP said further.