Reds negotiator: PH gov't ended chance for peace talks with arrest warrant for Joma, others

Jofelle P. Tesorio, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Sep 10 2019 09:59 PM

No more talks for now? NDFP chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili with Luis Jalandoni and Jose Maria Sison. Photo from Fidel Agcaoili on Facebook

UTRECHT, The Netherlands --- The Philippine government has ended any chance of peace negotiations with the National Democratic of the Philippines (NDFP), the rebels group's chief peace negotiator Fidel Agcaoili said.

This, after a Manila court ordered the arrest of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison, his wife Juliet de Lima, NDFP senior adviser Luis Jalondoni, and 35 other members of the organization for murder.

“Wala na (nothing)... The regime is the one showing things that they are not anymore open to negotiations. Hindi naman kami. Pag pinalitan na iyan (It’s not us…when there’s a change in government). Hopefully that government that will take over will be open to negotiations,” he said during an interview from Utrecht. 

Agcaoili said the NDFP has been open to negotiations but the arrest warrants may close peace talks until the next government. 

The peace talks broke down in November 2017 after Duterte terminated the negotiations, saying he wanted more time to study all accords with the Reds even from past governments.

“Sabagay, tinerminate na niya noong December 2017 ang peace negotiations. But this time talagang wala na. (Well, Duterte terminated the peace negotiations in 2017. This time, the chance is nil). I think they have the illusion that they can end this fight of the Filipino people for national and social liberation through military and other means,” Agcaoili added.

The Philippine National Police on Tuesday said it has sought the assistance of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) to help arrest Sison and others who are outside the country. The military also earlier said it has informed the Dutch government regarding the warrants of arrest.

“That case is crazy. It supposed to happen in 1985. In 1985, Luis was here, Joma was in detention,” he said.

Agcaoili said Sison is protected by the European Human Rights Convention and the Dutch government cannot violate this convention, while Jalandoni is a Dutch citizen.

“The Duterte regime is not exactly acceptable to many European governments…They will be heard of course. They will be received out of diplomatic courtesy,” Agcaoili said, adding that European governments are also questioning the human rights record of the country.

“Merong kaso sa ICC, merong appeal ang UN Human Rights Commission (There’s a case at the International Criminal Court, there’s an appeal on the UNHRC) and it was sponsored by Iceland, a European country and supported by all members of the European Union asking Duterte to allow independent investigations into alleged human rights violations,” he said.

Earlier, Sison said in a statement that the Interpol cannot arrest him because he is a recognized political refugee. 

“I am protected by the Refugee Convention and by the European Convention on Human Rights. There is also no extradition treaty between the Netherlands and the Philippines…The charge is invalid and cannot pass the test of due process in The Netherlands. I have my rights to be informed of the charge, to have counsel and to ask for judicial review,” he said.