Panelo defends NDF consultant arrest ‘lawful,’ other communist rebels no longer immune

Published November 8, 2018, 1:47 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Genalyn Kabiling

The government is determined to arrest the National Democratic Front (NDF) consultants previously covered by a safety conduct pass agreement amid the collapse of the peace talks.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement after defending the lawful arrest of NDF consultant Vic Ladlad in Quezon City.

“There has been an announcement by the President even last year about the arrest of these people given the proclamation that the peace talks have ended,” Panelo said during a Palace press briefing.

Panelo argued that the NDFA consultants, who were earlier freed during the peace talks, could no longer invoke the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

He said in the case of Ladlad, there was no need for an arrest warrant because rebellion was a continuing crime.

“First, the JASIG is operative only if there are peace talks ongoing but that has been terminated by the proclamation of the President on November 23, 2017,” he said.

“Secondly, the crime of rebellion is a continuing crime and therefore no warrant of arrest is needed for that,” he added.

The police earlier confirmed the arrest of Ladlad Thursday subdivision in Novaliches, Quezon City. High-powered firers were reportedly seized from Ladlad and two others.

A few months ago, another NDF consultant Rafael Baylosis was arrested in Quezon City for alleged illegal possession of firearm.

President Duterte earlier terminated the peace talks with the communist rebel group in protest of its atrocities against government troops and other civilians.

Duterte, in a recent meeting with security officials, has ordered authorities to pursue the proscription case seeking to declare the communist rebel group as a terrorist organization.

He also authorized the creation a national task force to address the armed conflict as well as the investigation of the massacre of nine sugar farmers in Negros Occidental.