Manila government fails to comply with JASIG and continues to impede NDFP Consultants

NDFP Chief Political Consultant

The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) has rendered extremely difficult or even impossible the resumption of formal talks in the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) by a series of deliberate acts to undermine and negate the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

The GRP has not complied with the JASIG and has not removed the impediments it has imposed on the fourteen NDFP consultants who are detained or who are subjects of warrants of arrest on the basis trumped-up criminal charges.

The GRP has not fulfilled its 15 June commitment to expeditiously remove, before the end of July, the impediments on said consultants on the basis of precedents (using as model the expeditious release of Danilo Borjal in 1997) in accordance with the JASIG. More than two months have passed since 15 June and more than one month since 17 July when the GRP announced that it would respect and comply with the JASIG.

The GRP is condemnable for refusing to release any detained NDFP consultant in accordance with JASIG and for maliciously limiting the liberty of Randall Echanis to six months and making him a hostaged consultant. It is also condemnable for issuing sham safe conduct passes that in fact incriminate and condemn Vicente Ladlad and Rafael Baylosis, and that practically serve as their death warrant.

The concerned NDFP consultants and their lawyers have taken a position that they would rather debunk the false charges in court and thereby seek relief than submit themselves to the vicious impositions and incriminations by the militarists like Generals Eduardo Ermita and Avelino Razon who constantly maneuver to undermine and negate the JASIG and the entire GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.

The fundamental problem on the GRP side is the lack of political will on the part of the GRP principal Gloria M. Arroyo to engage in serious peace negotiations with the NDFP. She tries to evade responsibility by letting one set of subordinates to posture as being for peace negotiations and another set to brazenly generate impediments.

Because of the deliberate and systematic failure of the GRP to remove the impediments on the concerned NDFP consultants, the resumption of formal talks cannot be held in August and probably can never be held in the remaining months of the Arroyo regime, unless a preliminary meeting is held to remove the aforesaid impediments before the formal talks.

Thus, the NDFP intends to propose to the GRP through the Norwegian government that a preparatory meeting between the GRP and NDFP sides with their respective lawyers be held within the first week of September in order to produce a written agreement that reaffirms the JASIG and stipulates the methods for complying with the JASIG and removing the GRP-made impediments on the NDFP consultants.