Soldiers collar NDF peace consultant after Duterte scraps talks

DAVAO CITY – A consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in the recently scrapped peace talks was held by government soldiers here on Monday morning.

In an advisory, peace group Exodus For Justice and Peace said Ariel Arbitrario along with his driver were apprehended by members of Task Force Davao at a checkpoint in Sirawan, Toril, here.

Arbitrario is reportedly protected from arrest under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) for being a consultant of the NDFP.

Prior to the most-recent round of peace negotiations between the government and the NDFP, Arbritrario had been in detention facing murder charges.

The Regional Trial Court Branch 3 allowed the release on bail of Arbitrario along with another NDF consultant Eduardo Genelsa on August 17 last year, after the government of President Rodrigo Duterte resumed talks with communist rebels.

On Saturday, Duterte scrapped the negotiations with the NDFP and demanded that all prisoners released for the talks to return to jail.

“Those who were released by the government, they should, on their own volition, return here and go back to prison,” Duterte said.

Duterte also said that he was directing intelligence units to monitor the locations of the peace consultants. CBB