OSG order to rearrest NDFP consultants undermines GRP-NDFP peace process

Last August 4, 2017, Solicitor General Jose Calida appealed to courts all over the country to cancel the bail previously granted to NDFP consultants and similarly encouraged orders for the rearrest of consultants. The conditional release was granted for purposes of their participation in the peace talks.

“Mere verbal pronouncements without the formal cancellation of the GRP-NDFP peace talks have previously resulted to the unjust and illegal arrest  of NDFP consultant Ariel Arbitrario last February 2017, despite the standing effectivity of Arbitrario’s bail. The same OSG order will send the wrong signal yet again to State security forces to illegally arrest consultants, without the necessary court orders, and endanger their lives, simply on the basis of such imprudent remarks,” said Karapatan Secretary general Cristina Palabay.

The announcement came after President Duterte unofficially cancelled the peace talks which was reportedly scheduled to resume this August. Palabay said that “Solicitor General Jose Calida seems hell-bent on avoiding the primary issues which has placed the peace process in gridlock – the GRP’s unreasonable insistence for a bilateral ceasefire declaration before discussion and finalization of substantive agenda such as the agreement on socioeconomic reforms, and compliance to obligations under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, through the non-release of political prisoners and the ongoing militarization, bombings, and attacks against schools, communities and individuals.”

“The Duterte regime feigns ignorance in the face of many violations committed by its State security forces on the ground, choosing instead to tenaciously adhere to policies that have been proven time and again to be instrumental to the curtailment of people’s rights. This includes the US-driven counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan which arbitrarily labels activists and community-based human rights defenders as ‘enemies of the State’ to justify attacks against them. This is further compounded by the recent martial law declaration in Mindanao,” added Palabay.

“Orders to rearrest NDF consultants can only indicate the GRP’s decision to completely undermine discussions on socioeconomic, political and constitutional reforms, and pursuing its militarist and fascist approach. This OSG order spits on the peace process as a viable means in rooting out the causes of the armed conflict in the Philippines. Not only does it disregard previously signed agreements between both parties such as the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), but such irresponsible pronouncements further constricts the space for any possibility to continue the peace talks,” concluded Palabay.

 

 

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