The Daily Manila Shimbun


(UPDATE) Duterte orders police and military to “rearrest” NDF peace consultants

February 6, 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday that 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 Hardin ng Lunas, 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 already returned to the Philippines following the third round of talks in Rome, Italy last month.

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

Philippine National Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa said Duterte gave him orders to arrest the following once they enter Philippine soil. They are  Wilma and Benito Tiamzon, Vic Ladlad, Afelberto Silva, Alfonso Jazmines, Alfredo Mapano, Loida Magpatoc, Pedro Cudaste, Ruben Salota, Ernesto Lorenzo, Porferio Tuna, Renante Gamara and Tirso Alcantara.

Dela Rosa said these persons have an arrest warrant. “They were released because they were given safe conduct pass but their warrant of arrest is still live,” said Dela Rosa.

He said their warrants were not quashed.

An NDF peace consultant was earlier arrested in Davao, a military spokesman said.

Captain Rhyan Batchar of the Army’s 10 Infantry Division, identified the arrested NDF consultant as Ariel Arbitrario alias Marlon. Batchar said Arbitrario was with Roderick Manuyac when they were arrested at a checkpoint of Task Force Davao at the vicinity of Brgy Sirawan, Toril at 9 am,

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

He said canceling peace negotiations could become effective after the Philippine peace panel formally communicated 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."

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

"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," he 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 the leftist rebels for their demand to release some 400 political detainees.

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