Duterte shutting door to peace, says Joma
By: Delfin T. Mallari Jr., Mariejo S. Ramos – @inquirerdotnet
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 07:11 AM November 10, 2018
COMMITMENT TO A CAUSE A defiant Vicente Ladlad raises a clenched fist inside a police vehicle that brought him on Thursday to Camp Karingal, headquarters of the Northern Police District.—GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE
The continued arrest of consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) only showed that President Duterte did not want to resume peace negotiations between the government and communist rebels, exiled Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison said on Friday.
In a statement, he said the President was “leaving no space for the possible resumption of the peace negotiations” and was using CPP, New People’s Army (NPA) and NDFP as scapegoats to “give him the pretext to establish a fascist dictatorship through martial law.”
Sison, NDFP chief political consultant, said Mr. Duterte’s scuttling of peace talks was also aimed at pushing for Charter change for a “bogus federalism in which he concentrates all powers in his hands.”
On Thursday, NDFP consultant Vicente Ladlad was arrested on illegal firearms charges in a raid on a house in Novaliches, Quezon City.
Police claimed they found “high-powered firearms, ammunition, grenades and several subversive documents” from Ladlad and an elderly couple, Alberto and Virginia Villamor, who owned the house.
“It is absolutely wrong for the military and police to plant an entire armory and make Vicente Ladlad, NDFP consultant, appear as a combatant despite his aging and sickly condition, with chronic asthma deteriorated to emphysema,” Sison said.
On Oct. 15, Adelberto Silva, a member of the NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms, was also arrested in Sta. Cruz town, Laguna province, with four others.
Authorities also claimed they seized firearms and explosives during the arrest.
NDFP consultant Rafael Baylosis was also arrested in Quezon City on Jan. 31.
Sison slammed the arrests were a violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees for negotiators, consultants and resource persons of both the government and the NDFP peace panel members.
Ladlad’s lawyer is appealing to a Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) for the lifting of an Oct. 22 order to issue an arrest warrant for Ladlad for failing to appear in court during his trial on the same day.
The motion was briefly heard on Friday and was submitted for resolution to Manila RTC Branch 32 presiding Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina.
Ladlad, who was charged with illegal possession of firearms on Thursday, is being tried in the Manila court for multiple murder for the deaths of 15 people whose remains were found in a mass grave in Inopacan, Leyte province, in 2006.
In a motion for reconsideration filed by Jose Manuel Diokno of the Free Legal Assistance Group on Nov. 5, Ladlad’s camp claimed that the order for a warrant against him has no legal basis.
“Once the accused has waived his appearance, his presence may only be required during the trial when it is specifically ordered by the court for purposes of identification,” the motion read.
But Diokno argued that the presence of Ladlad before the court was not needed for purposes of identification because no witness had pointed to him.