Friday, September 20, 2013

GPH addresses release of alleged NDF consultants through legal processes

From the Website of GPH - Government of the Philippines

GPH addresses release of alleged NDF consultants through legal processes

From the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process

Chief negotiator Alexander Padilla said that the Government of the Philippines (GPH) has been conducting an internal review process to recommend for the possible release of alleged National Democratic Front (NDF) consultants according to Philippine laws.

The panel chair reiterated this amid NDF’s repeated demands for the government to free prisoners whom the latter claims as protected by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

Leftist groups, such as Karapatan, Selda, Bayan Muna, Bayan, Makabayan, among others, held a protest rally outside of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process on Wednesday in Pasig City. They called for the release of political detainees alleged to be protected by JASIG.

JASIG is the agreement signed by both parties in 1995 to allow those involved in peace negotiations to freely discuss and move without any threat of being arrested. Consistently, the NDF has asserted that their alleged consultants arrested by the government are protected by this agreement.

“Since the verification mechanism has failed due to the NDF’s fault, there’s no way to prove if these alleged consultants are indeed covered by the Agreement,” Padilla said.

“It is only operative for those who are identified by the real names in the JASIG list and those who have been duly identified as consultants to the NDF Panel,” Padilla said while stressing the government’s commitment under JASIG.

In July 2011, representatives from both sides met in The Netherlands to verify whether the NDF’s detained alleged consultants were protected by JASIG. They agreed to open a sealed envelope stored by the NDFP in a safety deposit box kept by the parties eight years ago in a bank. But the envelope, which was supposed to hold the photos and real names of NDF consultants using aliases, did not contain actual photos but only diskettes that could not be decrypted by them.

In a previous statement, the GPH said it has released eight of the 18 NDF personalities under proper court proceedings as part of confidence-building measures. These include Angelina Ipong, Jovencio Balweg, Maria Luisa Purcray, Edwin Brigano, Glicerio Pernia, Randy Malayao, Danilo Badayos, and Jaime Soledad (who was re-arrested in May 2012 due to double murder charges).

“To our disappointment, three (Pernia, Purcray, and Brigano) of these NDF personalities have returned to active underground activities. With respect to the remaining 11 alleged NDF Consultants, whom Mr. (Louie) Jalandoni also demands to be released, their names do not appear in the JASIG list.  Hence, they are not covered by the Agreement,” it stated.

GPH Website

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