“The Duterte regime remains on a fascist rampage that adds more and more obstacles to the resumption of the peace negotiations with the NDFP.”
MANILA — The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) condemned the arrest of another of its peace consultant Monday, calling it “another obstacle to peace.”
In a statement, NDFP Negotiating Panel Chairperson Fidel Agcaoili said Esterlita Suaybaguio is covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig) with Document of Identification (DI) Number ND 978447 as second consultant for Mindanao.
Suaybaguio was arrested by police operatives in an apartment building in Quezon City Monday, August 26.
“The Duterte regime remains on a fascist rampage that adds more and more obstacles to the resumption of the peace negotiations with the NDFP,” Agcaoili said.
Under Jasig, peace consultants and staff from both the NDFP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) enjoy “immunity from surveillance, harassment, search, arrest, detention, prosecution and interrogation or any other similar punitive actions due to any involvement and participation in the peace negotiations.”
A copy of Suaybaguio’s DI is deposited in the safety deposit box under the name of Archbishop Joris A.O.L. Vercammen, Agcaoili said. Vercammen belongs to The Old Catholic Church of The Netherlands.
On July 12, 2017, former government peace negotiators Hernani Braganza and Angela L. Trinidad and Philippine Ambassador to The Netherlands Jamie Ledda witnessed the consignment of the NDFP list with Vercammen.
In the same month, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process said that then GRP chief negotiator Silvestre Bello III issued Letters of Authority (LA) to the Jasig-covered rebel consultants they could present to police authorities and military in case they are held or arrested.
The Philippine National Police claimed they confiscated a handgun, bullets and grenade from Suaybaguio’s apartment, an offense it charged all other arrested NDFP peace consultants and staff with since the GRP walked away from the peace negotiations in June 2017.
“Instead of promoting just peace, the Duterte regime and its military even send psywar (psychological warfare) and spy teams in schools and communities and even abroad to muddle the facts about the peace talks, sow disinformation on activist organizations and NGOs, and hide the widespread extrajudicial killings and rampant human rights violations in the country,” Agcaoili said.