By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – A consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) was arrested May 2 at his house in Inopacan, Leyte and charged with murder.
Jaime Soledad, 63, was first arrested in March 2008 in Cavite. After three years in prison, Soledad was released in July 2011 as part of the government’s compliance with its obligations under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig). Under Jasig, all consultants and staff of the NDFP and the Government of the Philippines (GPH) are accorded immunity from suit, arrest and all forms of harassment.
“In re-arresting Soledad, the Aquino regime has violated his rights stipulated in the Jasig against the arrest and detention of document holders,” the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said in a statement sent through email. “The Aquino regime continues to make the resumption of peace negotiations difficult as it persists in violating the Jasig.”
For its part, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) said the arrest of Soledad and of another NDFP consultant, Renante Gamara on April 3 shows “the Aquino regime’s contempt for a basic peace agreement.”
Fifteen NDFP consultants, including Soledad and Gamara, remain in detention.
Peace talks between the NDFP and the GPH have been stalled since last year as GPH continues to refuse to release detained NDFP consultants and staff.
The NDFP called for the release of detained NDFP consultants as well as the more 350 political prisoners in the country. The NDFP said the arrest of political prisoners is a violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).