Presidential Peace Adviser, Sec. Jesus Dureza, tells a press conference at Apo View Hotel, Davao City government is in constant contact with Moro National Liberation Front Chairman Nur Misuari, but only through emissaries owing to the rebellion charges filed against him in the court. The administration of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte is talking to different Moro revolutionary organizations to get a consensus of a peace settlement acceptable to all the constituents in the Bangsamoro homeland in Mindanao. (Medel V. Hernani/

Presidential Peace Adviser Sec. Jesus Dureza (Medel V. Hernani/

DAVAO CITY — Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza said that the government is working on the release of the first batch of detained peace consultants of the National Democratic Front who will participate in the peace negotiations.

“We’re working on the release of the first batch of (Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front- New People’s Army) members who are needed in the negotiations and in the resumption of the peace talks,” Dureza said.

He said that the detained peace consultants have to be released “in the basis of judicial processes”.

He said they were able to secure the temporary release of three peace consultants namely Saturnino Ocampo, Randall Echanis, and Vicente Ladlad from the Supreme Court on Friday, August 5.

“Those whose cases are not pending with the Supreme Court, naturally the Supreme Court cannot rule on them, so they had recommended that we thresh this out with the local trial courts where the case has been lodged. And right now our efforts are now directed in dealing with the legal processes in the local regional trial court,” Dureza told reporters here in a press conference on Tuesday, August 9.

The following persons that the NDF said are its consultants are still in jail:

  • Tirso Alcantara
  • Alex Birondo
  • Winona Birondo
  • Maria Concepcion Bocala
  • Reynante Gamara
  • Alan Jazmines
  • Ma. Loida Magpatoc
  • Adelberto Silva
  • Benito Tiamzon
  • Wilma Tiamzon

The Supreme Court’s ruling said: “To grant temporary and conditional liberty to these personalities may have the inadvertent but irremediable effect of pre-empting the trial courts’ own determinations in the exercise of their original jurisdiction to try the cases before them.”

It also rejected the demand for the release of some NDF members, including the Tiamzon couple who are facing kidnapping charges.

Meanwhile, the SC directed the regional trial courts to “give utmost priority” for the temporary release of the NDF consultants “in view of the grave importance of peace to the Filipino people.”

Dureza said they are “very hopeful” that the consultants will be released before the August 22 schedule of the formal resumption of the peace talks.

He said it is important for the peace consultants to attend the peace negotiations.

“If we are going to go full blast in the negotiations, we need so many across the table because we would like to fast track (the peace negotiations),” Dureza said.

He said they want to hold “simultaneous meetings” for the agenda of the peace negotiations.

Release of consultants ‘vital’

Meanwhile, militant labor group, Kilusang Mayo Uno, in a statement said that the release of the peace consultants “is crucial in the resumption of the peace talks.”

“It is not a mere precondition but an affirmation of the Philippine government’s commitment to pursue the long-stalled peace process by honoring previously signed agreements,” said KMU chairperson, Elmer Labog.

Labog said the NDF consultants are facing “trumped-up charges and are being subjected to inhumane prison conditions.”

The group also said that the detention of the peace consultants  violates the previously signed agreements such as the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).”

“The government peace panel also committed to release the 22 NDFP consultants and all political prisoners in the Oslo Joint Statement which was signed last June 15, 2016,” it said.

After the two-day preliminary talks in Oslo on June 14 to June 15, the government and the NDF were able to sign a Joint Statement for the formal resumption of the peace talks in July. The schedule of the formal talks was later moved to August.

The agenda of the resumption of the formal talks will include: 1) affirmation of previously signed agreements; 2) accelerated process for negotiations including the timeline for the completion of the remaining substantive agenda for the talks: socio-economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms and the end of hostilities and disposition of forces; 3) reconstitution of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) list; 4) amnesty proclamation for the release of all detained political prisoners, subject to concurrence by Congress; and 5) mode of interim ceasefire. (

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