The Daily Manila Shimbun


Duterte tells military, police to “arrest” 17 leftist rebels who belong  to NDF panel

February 6, 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday the military and the police will hunt the leaders of the communist rebels who are on temporary liberty due to peace talks.

In an ambush interview at the Presidential Security Group, Duterte said there is no need for the government peace panel to formally communicate with the National Democratic Front (NDF), the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA), regarding the termination of the peace talks.

"I will start to look for them and I will start to arrest them...I will order the military and the police to arrest them," he said, referring to the 17 leftist rebel leaders, led by the couple Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, whom according to the NDF have returned to the Philippines following the third round of talks in Rome, Italy last month.

Bayan Muna Partylist Congressman Carlos Zarate said an NDF consultant was arrested in Davao.

Zarate told a press conference that Ariel Arbitrario, who is out on bail, was arrested by Task Force Davao

NDF peace panel head Fidel Agcaoili had said NPA leaders who were on bail could not be arrested because they were covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig).

Agcaoili said cancellation of the peace negotiations could only take effect after the Philippine peace panel formally communicates with them through Norway, the third party facilitator, about its decision.

But Duterte said, "I am not his client. I do not take orders from anybody."

Duterte explained communist leaders were out of jail on condition they would participate in the peace talks.

Duterte said since he decided to scrap the negotiations, "they will be rearrested."

"I don't want to be fooled," he said as he branded the communists as "spoiled brats."

"It's as if they are the ones who are in government in making demands," Duterte said.

Duterte decided to cancel the peace talks with the NDF after the NPA allegedly launched ambuscades, killing at least six soldiers.

He also slammed leftist rebels for their demand to release around 400 political detainees.

"That is only given after a successful talk or talks, then you grant amnesty," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS