NDF consultant’s arrest ‘reminiscent of Marcos’ crackdown’—legal counsel
The warrantless arrest of National Democratic Front (NDF) consultant Rafael Baylosis “brazenly flouts law and further derails efforts at peace,” his legal counsel said Thursday.
Atty. Rachel Pastores, managing counsel of the Public Interest Law Center (PILC), said that Baylosis’ arrest was “reminiscent of Marcos’ crackdown” and “demonstrates how no person now is safe from the vicious and vindictive Duterte administration.”
Pastores said Baylosis, 69 and suffering from a heart ailment, was surveilled and arrested by a joint team of the police and military “despite no pending warrant of arrest against him nor being caught in flagrante delicto” or in the act of doing a crime.
She said he was simply walking along Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City, when six men pounced on him and “whisked him off to the police headquarters,” together with a companion identified as Roque Guillermo Jr.
The police report on his arrest, however, said that authorities arrested Baylosis and Guillermo at around 3:45 p.m. while conducting “casing and surveillance” in the area following a report of “armed and suspicious-looking” persons.
It also stated that the two “sensed the presence” of the authorities in the area and “tried to run.”
“This prompted the detectives to conduct interdiction as they are visible with short firearms tucked on their sides,” the report said, adding that they were “appraised” of their constitutional rights upon arrest.
Contrary to the report, Pastores said that the “armed men who took him did not read him his constitutional rights, or even present him with charges.”
He was also not allowed access to family, lawyers, or even to a phone, until the following morning, the lawyer added.
“He and his companion now face fabricated, trumped up charges of illegal possession of firearms,” she noted.
Pastores said that as part of the NDF peace delegation and consultant of the ceasefire committee, Baylosis is covered by the Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantees, thus “must be released immediately.”
The arrest came days after President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to crush the “apparatus” of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA).
In November 2017, Duterte issued Proclamation No. 360, declaring the termination of the peace negotiations with the CPP-NPA-NDF.
More than a week later, Duterte issued Proclamation No. 374, declaring the CPP-NPA as terrorist groups. /je
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