LUCENA CITY, Philippines—The head of the communist-led National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on Saturday demanded the government to publicly disclose the supposed list of the 235 alleged rebel leaders carrying P467-million reward for their capture.
“The NDFP wants to know those names and identities on the complete list because we want to ascertain whether a judicial warrant of arrest is the basis of the listing of every one or not, and whether or not there is arbitrariness or not,” Luis Jalandoni said in an emailed statement sent to INQUIRER.
According to Jalandoni, the previous listings of alleged wanted communist leaders under various administrations have been characterized by a lack of prior judicial warrants of arrest and by arbitrariness.
“The Aquino government can use the list as a death list for the use of death squads if it does not release all the listed names for public scrutiny. Keeping nearly all such names or most of the 235 names in secrecy and under the fog is a license for harassment, abductions and extrajudicial killings,” Jalandoni warned.
The cash figures were contained in a joint order by the Department of Interior and Local Government and Department of National Defense, which was reportedly released by DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas.
Leading the list of wanted rebel leaders, according to report, are New People’s Army top commander Benito Tiamzon, CPP-National Finance Commission head Wilma Tiamzon, National Democratic Front-Mindanao spokesperson Jorge Madlos, and NPA Eastern Mindanao leader Leoncio Pitao.
Roxas also signed a DILG-DND joint order offering P176 million for the arrest of 14 Abu Sayyaf members.
Jalandoni branded the supposed joint order between the DND and DILG as “anomalous and ominous”.
He explained that the police, not the military, are the peace officers in charge of arrests under the administration of the DILG and guidance of the Department of Justice.
Jalandoni pointed out that that government had only announced few names in the media.
He claimed that Wilma Austria-Tiamzon is protected by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig) as one of the NDFP’s consultants with its on and off peace talks with the government.
“To list and target our consultants is an attack on the peace process. The NDFP wants to ensure that the Jasig is respected and not violated,” Jalandoni said.
The Jasig prohibits both parties to subject to surveillance, arrest or criminal persecution personnel of either side who serve as officials, consultants or staff members in peace negotiations.
Jalandoni noted that the bounty offering was the second time this year that the Aquino administration has jacked up the cash reward for the capture of communist leaders.
He recalled that the first one was in August when it announced the rewards of P5.6 million each for Benito Tiamzon and Jorge Madlos.
In an earlier statement, Jalandoni said the bounty offer was “another flagrant violation of the binding bilateral peace agreement that provides safety and immunity guarantees to those involved in the peace negotiations”.
“It exposes the Aquino regime’s utter contempt for peace negotiations with the NDFP,” he said.
He added the order “only seeks to criminalize the revolutionary movement”.
The on-and-off peace talks between the government and the communist rebels have been stalled since 2004 and have yet to return to the peace table after they first met in Oslo in February last year.
The communist and government representatives were both adamant in pushing for their respective preconditions before the start of the talks.
The NDFP insisted that the state security forces first released their jailed comrades before the start of the negotiation. The government rejected the demand.