Oslo meeting of Peace Panels may be preceded by Manila meeting of their lawyers

Chief Political Consultant
NDFP Negotiating Panel

Secretary Avelino Razon, presidential adviser on the peace process, is reported to have said that the lawyers of the Government of the Republic of Philippines (GRP) and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) can meet first in the Philippines.

Indeed, they can to discuss legal possibilities, on the basis of precedents in the time of GRP president Fidel V. Ramos and his then secretary of justice Silvestre Bello III and in accordance with the June 15 agreement for GRP to comply with the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and remove the impediments on NDFP consultants.

But there is no substitute for the soonest possible meeting of the GRP and NDFP negotiating panels, together with their respective lawyers, in Oslo because it is the panels that can make agreements in writing in order to ensure compliance with the JASIG. The previous June 15 agreement needs to be further firmed up in detail and in writing by the panels because the GRP has failed to comply with the JASIG.

Compliance by the GRP with JASIG is long overdue. The consultants of the NDFP and other JASIG-protected individuals have been subjected to extrajudicial killings, abductions, torture and indefinite incarceration on the basis of trumped up charges of common crimes. Only a rotten political, judicial and legal system like that of GRP can allow these barbarities. Razon has been involved in these, especially when he was head of Task Force Usig and coordinated with the world infamous Inter-Agency for Legal Action Group (IALAG) whose abolition has been recommended by UN special rapporteur Philip Alston.

As regards the repeated intrigue of Razon that the revolutionary leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), New People's Army (NPA) and the NDFP is divided over the question of peace negotiations, he should read the August 31 CPP statement in Ang Bayan (www.philippinerevolution.net) declaring that the revolutionary leadership in the Philippines is 100 per cent behind the NDFP negotiating panel, with Luis Jalandoni as the chairperson and myself as the chief political consultant.

As regards my lifestyle, it cannot go far beyond borrowed money for bare subsistence. It is incomparable to the sybaritic life of corrupt high bureaucrats and military top brass in the Philippines and to the likes of Gloria and Mike Arroyo who gorge on million peso banquets. I go only to modest potlucks and barbecue gatherings.

So much for the trivialities of Razon. De facto GRP president Gloria M. Arroyo impresses the world as lacking in the necessary leadership to pursue the peace negotiations. The US-directed militarists like Ermita and Razon control her in this matter and have made her to believe that they could destroy the armed revolution of the people before 2010 through the sheer military force of Oplan Bantay Laya or through tactics of pressure and deception for pushing the NDFP to submit and surrender to the GRP political and legal system.

Until now, the NDFP does not see that the Arroyo regime is seriously interested in peace negotiations as a way of addressing the roots of the civil war through agreements on basic social, economic and political reforms as the basis of a just and lasting peace. Accordingly, the CPP, NPA and NDFP are united and ready to wage a tit-for-tat struggle against any scheme or maneuver of the Arroyo regime. Indeed, the Filipino people have been pressing on the NPA to intensify tactical offensives on a nationwide scale.

Just as the Arroyo regime is most interested in destroying the armed revolution of the people, the revolutionary forces are resolutely and courageously pursuing the people's war for national liberation and democracy. Their armed strength has acquired the critical mass for accelerating the advance of the people's war and building more units of the NPA to cover 179 rural congressional districts in the next 2 or 3 years. The revolutionary forces plan to attain the strategic stalemate and finally the strategic offensive within the next ten years. The ever worsening crisis conditions of the world capitalist system and domestic ruling system are favorable for waging revolution. The broad masses of the people are demanding revolutionary change.

The revolutionary forces are also looking at the possibility within the next ten years that patriotic and progressive forces arise within the ruling system and make serious negotiations with the NDFP for a great historic concord of national unity and peace to uphold, defend and advance national independence, democracy as empowerment of the people, economic development through national industrialization and land reform and a patriotic, scientific and democratic culture.