The Daily Manila Shimbun


NDF urges “immediate release” of peace consultant, companion

February 6, 2017

The National Democratic Front (NDF) urged Philippine authorities to release a consultant  in its peace talks with the Philippine government and his companion who were arrested in a checkpoint in Davao City.

In a statement on Monday, NDF chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili said it “strongly condemns” the arrest of Ariel Arbitrario and Roderick Manuyac and calls on authorities “to prevent similar arrests that will only serve to undermine the peace negotiations.”

Arbitrario is the first NDF consultant to be arrested after President Rodrigo Duterte said he is ending the talks between the Philippine government and the NDF, the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army.

“Arbitrario is covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and is immune from arrest in the performance of his duties and responsibilities in the peace negotiations.  Under the Agreement, the companions of Arbitrario when he was arrested are also covered by the protection of the JASIG”, said Agcaoili.

Agcaoili said peace negotiations “are ongoing” as the Philippines must send a written notice of termination of talks to the NDF and that would take effect 30 days after receiving it.

Agcaoili said Arbitrario's release last August is secured by bail, according to their lawyers.  DMS