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Re-posted from Pinoy Weekly

NDF consultants’ 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, Norway.

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:

Alcantara, Tirso

Arbitrario, Ariel

Baleros, Renato Sr.

Bangibang, Kennedy

Birondo, Alexander

Birondo, Winona

Bocala, Ma. Concepcion Araneta

Codaste, Pedro

Friginal, Edgardo

Gamara, Renante

Genelsa, Edie

Jazmines, Alan

Lorenzo, Ernesto

Magpatoc, Loida

Mapano, Alfredo

Saluta, Ruben

Silva, Adelberto

Tiamzon, Benito

Tiamzon, Wilma

Tuna, Porferio

Another consultant, Jaime Soledad, a Jasig-protected person detained at the Ormoc City Jail, was acquitted from trumped up murder charges last week.

“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 trumped-up cases.




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