NPA leader in Misamis Oriental freed on bail for peace talks
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – An alleged New People’s Army (NPA) leader who was arrested while visiting a friend here seven years ago walked out of the Misamis Oriental provincial jail here after a court granted him bail.
Alfredo Mapano, also known as Ka Paris, walked out of jail on Wednesday (Aug. 17) after prison officials received the court order for his temporary liberty, which was issued by Judge Florencia Abbu of the Regional Trial Court Branch 17. He was received by local militant leaders and pro-peace groups.
“I am happy with the warm welcome (for me). I feel that a lot of people love and empathize with my situation,” he said during his release on a P100,000 bail bond.
Mapano, who has been facing various charges – including murder – was temporarily released from detention on grounds of being a consultant for the National Democratic Front (NDFP) in the peace talks with the government.
“It’s an honor to represent the region and attend the peace talks. I belong to two reciprocal committees and I thank them (NDFP panel) for the trust,” said Mapano, whom the military described as a leader of the New People’s Army in north-central Mindanao when he was arrested in August 2009.
Mapano, set to fly to Oslo to join the NDF panel, said he would take part in at least two discussions focusing on constitutional reforms and cessation of hostilities during the talks.
“I’ll try my best to achieve their expectations,” he said.
NDF legal counsel Edre Olalia said that as of Wednesday afternoon, eight NDFP consultants had already been released from detention – including Mapano.
The others were Alex Birondo, Winona Birondo, Concha Bocala, Alan Jazmines, Tirso Alcantara, Renante Gamara and, Ernesto Lorenzo.
The Tiamzon couple, Benito and Wilma, and more than 10 others were also expected to be released anytime.
At least 22 NDFP consultants were to participate in the peace talks slated in Oslo from August 22 to August 27.
President Rodrigo Duterte has said he favors the release of the NDFP consultants so they could help in the negotiations.
NDFP peace negotiator Luis Jalandoni illustrated the importance of the 22 detained NDF consultants in the talks by saying that negotiations could not take place if the government refused to release them.
“If the release of the 22 NDFP consultants will not be realized, the NDFP will reconsider the postponement of the peace talks until the issue of political prisoners will be resolved,” Jalandoni said.
Exiled communist leader Jose Ma. Sison said “an interim ceasefire (could be declared) following the release of political prisoners and the resumption of formal peace negotiations.”
“The (non-release of the NDF consultants) will complicate the talks of Aug. 20,” Jalandoni said. SFM/rga