release crucial to peace talks resumption
Pinoy Weekly August 15, 2016
Human rights workers and their lawyers have been working to secure the
release of 18 political prisoners who are consultants to the National
Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in the peace negotiations with
the Philippine government.
With support from government prosecutors, human rights group Karapatan
have secured favorable order from most local courts handling the peace
consultants’ cases, as of this writing.
These consultants are covered under the Joint Agreement on Safety and
Immunity Guarantees (Jasig), save for two political prisoners who are to
be released for humanitarian release.
Formal peace negotiations are slated to resume on August 20, in Oslo,
For its part, the government panel, through the Office of the Solicitor
General, filed the Urgent Manifestation and Motion for the issuance of
orders to various trial courts to issue orders of conditional release to
specified members of the NDF panel.
In its August 2 resolution, the Supreme Court said that “appropriate
motions and pleadings should be filed for consideration of the trial
courts.” According to the SC, the concerned regional trial courts where
charges were filed against the political prisoners shall give the
“appropriate priority to hearings of such motions and manifestations.”
“Since public prosecutors and the Solicitor General did not object, we
expect all the other courts to issue today similar orders granting said
motions so that the travel documents of the consultants can be processed
immediately,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan Secretary General.
The NDF panel has asked the Duterte government to release the following
peace consultants they can participate in the formal resumption of the
peace talks in Oslo:
Baleros, Renato Sr.
Bocala, Ma. Concepcion Araneta
Another consultant, Jaime Soledad, a Jasig-protected person detained at
the Ormoc City Jail, was acquitted from trumped up murder charges last
“We hope all of them will be released starting tomorrow and that all other
local courts immediately grant the motions and issue orders of release on
bail. The participation of the consultants for National Democratic Front
of the Philippines is crucial to the formal peace talks,” Palabay said.
She reiterated that these political prisoners have been charged with