By Rocky Nazareno
National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Negotiating Panel chair Fidel Agcaoili believes that he will not be arrested when he returns to the Philippines this month.
In a message to The Manila Bulletin, Agcaoili said that, despite the breakdown of the peace talks with the Philippine government, there was no reason for government authorities to arrest him as he did not have any pending cases before any Philippine court.
“Wala naman ang pangalan ko sa 600 sa proscription case, at wala rin akong outstanding case sa korte nila (My name is not among the 600 involved in proscription cases, and I do not have any outstanding case in any of their courts),” Agcaoili said.
In a statement posted on the NDFP website last Sunday, November 11, Agcaoili disclosed that he and NDFP Negotiating Panel Senior Adviser Luis Jalandoni and Panel member Coni Ledesma will be returning to the country this month “in connection with our work as members of the NDFP component in the Joint Monitoring Committee under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRHIL).”
This, despite the decision of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to terminate the peace negotiations between the Philippine Government (GRP) and NDFP.
In the same statement, Agcaoili said that they would also “welcome the opportunity to meet with the President unless he does not want to or his military is against it.”
The NDFP official also said they planned to pay a courtesy call on Bjorn Jahnsen, the new ambassador of Norway to the Philippines, who replaced Erik Forner. The Royal Norwegian Government (RNG) had been acting as the Third Party facilitator of the GRP-NDFP talks.
Duterte had ordered the arrest of NDFP negotiators, who were earlier released so that they could participate in the peace talks. Vicente Ladlad was the latest to be taken into custody after the arrest of Rafael Baylosis and Adelberto Silva.