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NDF, Joma assail government harassment on Jalandoni

LUCENA CITY, Quezon, Philippines –Self-exiled Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison and the National Democratic Front (NDF) accused the Aquino administration, on Wednesday, of harassing Luis Jalandoni, the rebel’s chief peace negotiator.

In a statement, Sison alleged that Jalandoni was being harassed by the Aquino administration when Jalandoni was served a court subpoena in connection with the release of four policemen in Mindanao last year from the captivity of the New People’s Army (NPA).

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Sison said he found the issuance of the subpoena against Jalandoni “reprehensible.”

Sison accused the Aquino administration of “acting viciously and maliciously by violating the safety and immunity guarantees” of Jalandoni who only extended his help for the release of the four policemen to improve the atmosphere for the resumption of the stalled peace talks between the NDF and the government.

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Lawyer Edre Olalia, legal consultant of the NDF peace panel, said Jalandoni has been viewing the issuance of the subpoena “very seriously.”

“He (Jalandoni) said it will seriously prejudice the already stalled peace negotiation,” Olalia said in a phone interview.

The lawyer said even the Norwegian government that has been serving as third party facilitator to the peace talks between the NDF and the government has become “deeply concerned.”

“Peace advocates are profoundly disturbed about this foolhardy latest harassment,” Olalia said.

The lawyer called the issuance of subpoena against Jalandoni as “legal harassment.”

“The government must address this immediately lest this will seriously prejudice the peace negotiation,” he said.

Olalia described the process of the subpoena issuance as “anomalous,” as it was only left in the mailbox of the residence of Jalandoni’s ailing sister in Makati City. The court summon was only discovered last Friday morning (May 29), he added.

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Jalandoni quietly arrived in the country last Thursday (May 28) to attend to his ailing elder sister, the lawyer said.

Sison said that since the 1990s, Jalandoni, in his capacity as NDF peace panel chair and protected by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig), has visited the country a number of times for peace consultations and family visit.

“He met and conversed with Presidents (Fidel) Ramos, (Joseph) Estrada and (Gloria) Arroyo,” Sison said.

“In sharp contrast to previous regimes, the Aquino regime has emerged as the worst violator of the JASIG by harassing Jalandoni with an invalid and improperly served subpoena,” Sison said.

The subpoena, a scanned copy of which was emailed to the Philippine Daily Inquirer by a source in the NDF, was dated Jan. 28, 2015. It was addressed to Jalandoni and Jorge Madlos alias “Ka Oris,” NDF spokesman in Mindanao. It was issued by the provincial prosecutor’s office in Surigao del Norte and signed by assistant provincial prosecutor Irwin Ariel Miel.

The subpoena stated that Jalandoni and Madlos were respondents in a complaint filed by four policemen – PO3 Vic Concon, PO1 Rey O’niel Morales, PO1 Joen Zabala and PO1 Edito F. Roquino – for “kidnapping and serious illegal detention and violation of R.A. (Republic Act) No. 9851 (Crime against Humanitarian Law and other Crimes against Humanity.”

The four policemen were captured by communist rebels in a raid in a police station in Surigao del Norte in 2014. They were released by the rebels on July 29, 2014, after government representatives like Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and former Pangasinan Rep. Hernani Braganza sought Jalandoni’s help for the freedom of the policemen.

He said that even presidential peace adviser Teresita Deles described the release of the policemen and Jalandoni’s rule in it to have “augur(ed) well for the peace negotiation.”

Olalia said Jalandoni has long been authorized by the rebel movement to issue the “release order in the context of the peace negotiation.”

The NDF has been engaged in a protracted peace negotiation with the government for the past 27 years. The peace talks have been stalled since 2004, with both parties adamant in pushing for their respective preconditions before the start of the negotiations.

The NPA, the CPP armed wing, has been waging a Maoist-inspired war against the government for the past 45 years, considered one of the world’s longest-running communist rebellion.

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TAGS: Armed conflict, Communist Party of the Philippines, communist rebellion, court subpoena, Crime against Humanitarian Law and other Crimes against Humanity, Edre Olalia, harassment, Insurgency, JASIG, Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees, Jose Maria Sison, Kidnapping, Luis Jalandoni, National Democratic Front, New People's Army, News, peace negotiations, peace process, Policemen, prisoners of war, rebellion, release of captives, safety and immunity guarantee, serious illegal detention, violation of Republic Act No. 9851
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