Bogus Safe Passes, Legal Maneuvers: ‘Militarists’ in Arroyo Regime Hold Sway

“The militarists tried to prevent the release of Elizabeth Principe and then claimed to be responsible for her release,” Sison said. “They have caused the issuance of a temporary release order of six months in a maneuver to make Randall Echanis a hostaged consultant. They have issued sham safe-conduct passes whose text incriminates Baylosis and Ladlad and serves as judgment of conviction and death warrants against them. The GRP has not only deliberately made a zero compliance with the June 15 agreement but has further violated the Jasig and generated new impediments.”

Razon had claimed that Principe was released in late July in accordance with the June 15 agreement. “Principe was already released so she can participate as an (NDFP) consultant,” he said in a media interview early last month.

Principe was arrested in 2006 in connection with a supposed conspiracy between the CPP-NPA and rebel soldiers to destabilize the Arroyo administration. Before that she had been slapped with criminal charges, which she claimed were trumped-up. All cases against her were eventually dismissed.

Echanis was arrested in January last year on murder charges stemming from allegations that he masterminded a purge within the ranks of the CPP in Inopacan, Leyte, in 1984, while he was in detention. At the time of his arrest, he was attending a conference on agrarian reform initiated by the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (Uma or Union of Workers in Agriculture).

He was detained at the provincial jail in Palo, Leyte. In late 2008, he was transferred to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame, but a few days later was again transferred, this time to the Manila City Jail. He was released last Aug. 14.

The Jasig, signed on Feb. 25, 1995, provides among other things that:

“As used and understood in this Joint Agreement, immunity guarantees shall mean that all duly accredited persons are guaranteed immunity from surveillance, harassment, search, arrest, detention, prosecution and interrogation or any other similar punitive actions due to any involvement or participation in the peace negotiations.”

According to Sison, the GRP’s violation of the June 15 agreement shows that “militarists” on the government side have maneuvered to undermine the entire peace negotiations.

“It is now clear that before (GRP negotiators) Nieves Confesor and Sedfrey Candelaria came to The Hague on June 15 they had been instructed by the small-minded military tacticians Ermita and Razon to use the offer of GRP lifting the illegitimate so-called suspension of the Jasig for the purpose of baiting and steering the NDFP towards the proposition that the JASIG and all the other bilateral agreements in the GRP-NDFP are one-sidedly subject to the authority of the GRP and its judicial system,” Sison said. “But the NDFP negotiating panel has taken a firm stand and made precautions against the dirty maneuvers of the militarists in the GRP.”

As for Baylosis and Ladlad, Sison said, they have refused the safe-conduct passes and have instead opted to continue contesting the “false charges” against them in court. (

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