Arrested communist consultant ‘protected’ – Joma Sison
By DEMPSEY REYES
November 08, 2018
A PEACE talks consultant for the communist rebels who was arrested is “protected” by an agreement with the government, the exiled founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines said on Thursday.
Combined police and military forces arrested Vicente Ladlad in Barangay San Bartolome, Quezon City early Thursday but was not presented to media as scheduled because he was undergoing “booking process.”
When sought for his reaction, Sison said online that Ladlad, a consultant for the National Democratic Front (NDF), was “protected under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig) as much as the other negotiators and consultants were. They are not open targets of surveillance, arrest or combat even when the peace negotiations are terminated.”
Armed with a warrant, police also seized from Ladlad several high-powered firearms, ammunition, grenades and several “subversive” documents.
Ladlad’s wife, Fides, said that the evidence may have been planted by those who arrested him, a statement Sison supported.
“There are continuing safety and immunity guarantees for them. Thus, there is the resorting to planting firearms on him despite emphysema condition,” Sison said of Ladlad’s illness, which was why he could not show up in court to file a motion for reconsideration on his warrant.
The communist leader also reminded the rest of the NDF consultants in the country to “assert legally” the Jasig between the Philippine government and the NDF negotiators, saying it should be “reciprocal and continuing.”
“Otherwise, the peace negotiations can never be resumed if the rule is established by [President Rodrigo] Duterte and the military is to treat such persons as having become combatants available or open to surveillance, arrest or combat,” Sison said.
Last year, Peace Process Adviser Jesus Dureza announced that the Jasig has been terminated after Duterte decided to issue a proclamation officially scrapping the peace talks with the communists.
However, Sison, who is in self-exile in Utrecht, The Netherlands, said that the immunity and safety guarantees for all peace negotiators and consultants coming from both sides should still be enforced.
“The immunity and safety guarantees for peace negotiations and consultants of the two sides are supposed to be respected even when there are breakdowns or even terminations of peace negotiations,” Sison said.