Published: Mon, February 05, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

NDF consultant in peace talks with govt arrested

NDF consultant in peace talks with govt arrested

"Baylosis is believed to be the acting secretary of the New People's Army", Bulalacao said, referring to the 3,000-strong guerrilla force that has waged a war in rural areas for almost 50 years.

The National Democratic Front and progressive lawmakers on Thursday, February 1, condemned the arrest of NDF consultant Rafael Baylosis.

Police claim the pair were carrying.45 caliber pistols and ammunition at the time of their arrest.

Inquest prosecutor Nilo Peñaflor recommended no bail for the illegal possession of explosives case and a P120,000 bail bond for illegal possession of firearms.

Baylosis was the first consultant to be rearrested since President Rodrigo Duterte canceled peace talks with communist rebels and declared the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing NPA as terrorist groups a year ago.

The pair was captured two weeks after a Philippine court issued arrest warrants for three other senior rebel consultants involved in peace talks with the government.

In a statement, Luis Jalandoni, member of the NDFP Executive Committee, said the arrest and detention of Baylosis was illegal, a flagrant violation of the GRP-NDFP Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG, 1995).

On Wednesday, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Edgard Arevalo ensured that the police and the military are working together to locate the NDFP consultants for their rearrest. They should also demand that President Duterte respect and implement the JASIG, the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL, 1998) and other binding peace agreements.

"President Duterte must not be allowed to kill and destroy the peace negotiations", Jalandoni said.

Human rights group Karapatan denounced the arrests and called for their release, arguing that Baylosis was sickly and posed no threat.

"Wala namang saysay ang JASIG na 'yun kasi wala nang peace talks (That JASIG is useless since there are no peace talks)", Roque said.

Zarate described the arrest as "ill-advised" and can be interpreted as "harassment" against NDFP consultants and personnel. "He has a warrant of arrest and our authorities may face dereliction of duties charges if they will not arrest him", Roque told a news briefing.

Other high-profile NDF consultants who were released from detention by the government to participate in the talks were Benito and Wilma Tiamzon.

National labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said the arrest of Baylosis "grossly violated previous peace agreements and further blocks hopes of resuming the peace talks towards addressing the socio-economic roots of the armed conflict". Both remain at large.

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