“For the past three decades I have always worked for just peace to reign in the Philippines and for the Filipino people. Members of the government peace negotiating panels and other GRP officials can attest to this.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – “I am not a terrorist.”
This is the assertion of Luis Jaladoni, former chairperson and now senior adviser to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Negotiating Panel, after the Anti-Terrorism Council designated him and six others as terrorist in its approved ATC Resolution No. 31 dated May 25.
The said ATC resolution was only released to the media on June 15 along with ATC Resolution No. 32, which also designated five individuals allegedly members of the Abu Sayaff Group.
Jalandoni condemned the ATC’s designation, saying that never in his life he have committed any act of terrorism.
“For the past three decades I have always worked for just peace to reign in the Philippines and for the Filipino people. Members of the government peace negotiating panels and other GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) officials can attest to this,” Jalandoni said in a statement.
Jalandoni, 87, belonged to a landed family in Negros Occidental. He was a priest in the Diocese of Bacolod when in the 1970s, he decided to leave priesthood and joined the NDFP. In the 1980s, he became the NDFP’s international representatives and in 1995 he became the chairperson of the NDFP panel.
In 2016, Jalandoni resigned as chief of the NDFP panel.
In 2021, the ATC also designated as terrorists some elderly peace consultants including those who were already detained namely Rey Casambre, Vicente Ladlad and Adelberto Silva as well as NDFP Chief Political Consultant Prof. Jose Maria Sison. Progressive groups criticized the powers of the ATC in designating a so-called terrorist citing the lack of due process.
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For Jalandoni, his designation as terrorist is “a warning by the government to those who are striving for genuine and meaningful change. That peace is not in the agenda of the incoming administration.”
“But I am confident that the people will persevere in their search for a just and lasting peace,” Jalandoni added.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) meanwhile said that Jalandoni’s designation is obviously intended to shut the doors to the resumption of the stalled peace negotiation.
They said, “It is hypocritical that a government led by Rodrigo Duterte, who is accused of committing grave crimes against humanity, is attempting to criminalize the legacy of a well-known peace advocate like Jalandoni.
The ATC resolution, the group said highlights the dangers of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 and other legal tools of repression which they said, continually being used against activists, leaders of people’s organizations, and critics of the outgoing and incoming government.
“It validates our continuing demand to repeal the draconian Anti-Terrorism Law, the abolition of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, and the revival of the peace negotiation to address the roots of the armed conflict,” they added. (RVO)