The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on Wednesday said the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantee (JASIG) remains intact even if peace negotiations have been cancelled.
In a press briefing, NDFP chief political consultant Joma Sison said the JASIG remains “valid and intact.”
“Ang 5th round, bagama’t cancelled, the peace process continues and therefore JASIG remains valid and intact,” he said.
The press briefing was organized following President Rodrigo Duterte’s earlier speech during the Philippine Navy anniversary, in which he warned peace process consultants that they will be arrested if they tried to return to the Philippines.
“If it’s going to be implemented, it would mean the termination of peace negotiations kasi nga that means violation of the JASIG,” NDFP Chairman Fidel Agcaoili said.
If the JASIG is violated, Agcaoili said it would have an “adverse effect” on the peace negotiations.
The JASIG covers all 14 peace process consultants who were out on bail as they were tapped to join the peace process.
The 14 consultants are now seeking legal advice from their lawyers in the Netherlands and Philippines.
Agcaoili said if the President is true to his word of the arrest, the consultants may seek political asylum in Europe.
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) leader Benito Tiamzon said they will first exhaust all political legal remedies if Duterte's arrest order is carried out by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Sison advised the 14 consultants to wait for clarification from either government peace advisor Jesus Dureza or panel chair Silvestre Bello III before making any decision to return home.
No connection with Maute group
The President also alleged in his speech that the New People’s Army (NPA) is conniving with the Maute group, which Agcaoili denied.
“NPA-Maute cooperation is false. We have no link-up with Maute. We are against Maute,” he said.
Agcaoili added that they even offered cooperation with the government.
“We have offered, the revolutionary movement has taken a stand even before against Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorist groups at iyung kanilang ginagawa, attacking civilians [ay] terrorist acts so that’s why sabi nga ni Prof. Sison, we offered to them a joint statement making a stand against Maute terrorist group,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sison said the President might be getting wrong information from his people.
He cited Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana's statement in a martial law briefing with senators that government troops could contain the Maute group even without martial law.
“May mixed signals among themselves eh. Sino yung particular commander sa ground sabi niya bago nag-martial law proclamation, situation [is] stabilized [and] under control ‘di ba? Ang nakagulat lang sakin, kanina 'yung nabasa ko sabi ni Lorenzana there’s no need for martial law. So among themselves they give mixed signals to each other. Anyway, nakikita naman natin na baka yanig sila sa pangyayari,” he said. - with reports from Danny Buenafe, ABS-CBN Europe News bureau chief