5 August 2015 | The Office of Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process (OPAPP), headed by Secretary Teresita Deles, continues to flagrantly violate not only the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) but also the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). This is crystal clear in the illegal arrest of NDFP Consultant Maria Concepcion “Concha”Araneta-Bocala last August 1, 2015.

The CARHRIHL signed on March 16, 1998 between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP)–then under President Fidel V. Ramos–and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) stipulates under Part III Respect for Human Rights, Article 6: “The GRP shall abide by its doctrine laid down in People vs. Hernandez (99 Phil. 515, July 18, 1956), … and shall forthwith review the cases of all prisoners or detainees who have been charged, detained, or convicted contrary to this doctrine, and shall immediately release them.”

The arrest of Araneta-Bocal for murder charges is a clear violation of the Hernandez political offense doctrine. This violation is prohibited by the CARHRIHL.

The OPAPP is likewise violating the JASIG and Supplemental Agreements thereto, signed by the GRP Panel headed by Ambassador Howard Dee and approved by the GRP then under President Fidel V. Ramos. Under the JASIG and Supplemental Agreements thereto, the GRP and the NDFP agreed to have 85 Documents of Identification to be issued to NDFP personnel involved in the peace negotiations. It was likewise agreed that most of these NDFP personnel would be using assumed names.

The NDFP-issued Documents of Identification and the GRP issued Letters of Acknowledgment are sufficient and valid documents to assure safety and immunity. For those using assumed names, as additional verification if requested, sealed photos would be deposited in a safety deposit box under the care of a mutually accepted Third Party Depositary.

From 1996 up to 2011, there had been releases of detained NDFP Consultants, for example, Sotero Llamas in 1996, Jose Danilo Borjal in 1997, without using the additional verification.

It is only under the Aquino administration, that the OPAPP demanded the additional verification, denying the validity of the NDFP Documents of Identification and the corresponding GRP Letters of Acknowledgment. The destruction by the Dutch police in 2007 of the diskettes needed for decrypting rendered the additional verification impossible in 2011.

The NDFP offered to reconstitute the list and deposit new photos, but the GPH Panel and the OPAPP refused, falsely claiming that the JASIG was no longer operative.

By such refusal the Aquino regime and the OPAPP continue to obstruct the resumption of GPH-NDFP peace negotiations.

Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel