UTRECHT, Netherlands - The arrest of National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant Renante Gamara is a violation of the agreement that provides safety and immunity guarantees to persons involved in peace negotiations, Communist leader Jose Maria “Joma” Sison said.
Sison said even if there is a breakdown of peace talks, protection for negotiators, consultants, resource persons, and other negotiating personnel should be guaranteed.
Gamara and Arturo Balagat were arrested Thursday for illegal possession of firearms in Imus, Cavite.
He was among NDFP consultants released for peace talks between communist rebels and the government, but the talks have since collapsed.
Reacting from his home in Utrecht, Sison said “there is continuing validity of the safety and immunity guarantees for Gamara under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). But the Duterte regime has no respect for JASIG. It has been violating it.”
The NDFP chief political consultant also said Gamara was “planted with firearms” so he can be arrested.
“His [President Rodrigo Duterte] armed minions planted firearms in the vicinity, if not on the person of Gamara in order to charge him with the common crime of illegal possession of firearms,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sison also reacted to the cancellation of the appointment of the Philippine government’s peace negotiators.
On March 18, Duterte signed the termination paper of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III as chairman of the government’s peace negotiating panel for talks with the Reds.
He also terminated the appointment of Rene Sarmiento, Antonio Arellano, Angela Librado-Trinidad, and Hernanni Braganza as members of the government’s peace panel.
Sison said the termination of the government’s negotiators is expected because “Duterte has no interest in the peace negotiations because he has always schemed to use the armed conflict as an excuse for carrying out martial law nationwide and for railroading charter change to a bogus kind of federalism in order to realize and impose fascist dictatorship on the Filipino people.”
He added that Duterte already stopped the talks on November 2017 when he signed Proclamation 360.