NDFP calls GPH Panel Chair’s accusations “malicious, unfounded”

Sep. 28, 2012

Jalandoni said the NDFP apology and indemnification “stand in stark contrast to the denial of responsibility by the AFP” for the many violations it committed such as the Hacienda Luisita massacre in November 2004 and the killing of nine-year-old pupil Grecil Buya in Kahayag village, Compostela Valley in March 2007.

Davao Today

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) calls as “malicious and unfounded” the statements made by Alex Padilla, Government of the Philippines (GPH) Panel Chair, following the New People’s Army’s (NPA) recent indemnification to the September 1 Paquibato blast victims.

Third Party Facilitators comprising the clergy, professionals and private individuals and organizations helped in the release of the NDF’s initial indemnification of 5,000 pesos (USD 119) to not less than 50 recipients in Fatima village, Paquibato District on September 19, a week after the NDFP’s Regional Council of Southern Mindanao issued a declaration of indemnification following admission on the incident made by the NPA’s Merardo Arce Command-Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command.

The NPA, in admitting it made a wrong decision in initiating a tactical offensive against the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) detachment located in a civilian population, also issued an apology.

Padilla, in a statement, called the indemnification a “stopgap and clouding the issue of violation of international humanitarian law and Philippine law.”

But, in an interview by davaotoday.com, Luis Jalandoni, Chair of the NDFP negotiating panel calls Padilla’s statement “not worthy of his position as GPH Panel Chair.”

Jalandoni pointed out that the NPA’s indemnification is not a stop gap measure as “it goes with an apology and is in accordance with the revolutionary movement’s principles and policies.”

Jalandoni said, in contrast, it shows respect to the international humanitarian law.

For Jalandoni, it is Padilla who is instead, beclouding the issue of violating the international humanitarian law, with the way the GPH is “carrying out military occupation of communities suspected of supporting the revolutionary movement.”

Jalandoni pointed out that the GPH has also instituted a “reign of terror through rampant human rights violations of civilians” in areas where it continued to set-up military encampments amidst a civilian populace.

Jalandoni said the NDFP apology and indemnification “stand in stark contrast to the denial of responsibility by the AFP” for the many violations it committed such as the Hacienda Luisita massacre in November 2004 and the killing of nine-year-old pupil Grecil Buya in Kahayag village, Compostela Valley in March 2007.

Buya, Jalandoni said, was falsely accused by the military as an NPA child soldier.  The military also claimed that it was Grecil’s father who recruited her for the underground movement.

But just like other similar cases of AFP denial, Jalandoni said, there was “no apology, no indemnification from the AFP.”

Padilla also raised a howl over why such indemnification was raised only now, when “there have been countless civilian victims of collateral damage in over four decades of the Communist insurgency.”

But Jalandoni said, Padilla made “another false statement” in saying so, since there have been “previous cases of indemnification carried out by the revolutionary movement in accordance with its revolutionary principles” which are “well recorded.”

He should get the facts before shooting his mouth,” Jalandoni said.

‘Revolutionary justice’

GPH’s Padilla has also called the NPA’s “revolutionary justice” a sham and insisted that “demands of justice are predicated on a rule of law and cannot be met by one-off payments.”

But Jalandoni pointed however to such rule of law of the GPH as the one that is a “sham” as it is “characterized by impunity” as proven in the documentation of various rights groups around the globe that showed the greatest number of victims of human rights violations are due to indiscriminate attacks by the GRP/GPH’s armed instruments.

As with Padilla’s accusation that the CPP-NPA’s “revolutionary justice” is “without regard to the rule of law including basic rights,” Jalandoni challenged Padilla to read instead the testimonies of Brig. Gen. Victor Obillo, Majors Francisco and Bernal and other prisoners of war (POW) about the humane treatment accorded to them.

Jalandoni said the NDFP has even updated its position on the issue of Prisoners of War which “guarantees to the POWs their right to a fair trial before a duly constituted people’s tribunal or court martial and all the guarantees of due process.”

The paper, released in January 2000, was formulated by the late Atty. Romeo Capulong, NDFP Chief Legal Counsel and United Nations Judge.

On landmines, child soldiers

In the same statement, Padilla also harped on the issue on the CPP-NPA’s “use of land mines and child soldiers” saying that the GPH Panel has been raising this in the talks.

But Jalandoni said the NPA only use the command-detonated land mines, which are not prohibited by the Ottawa Treaty or other international humanitarian law.

“These command-detonated land mines are a legitimate weapon against the AFP that uses indiscriminate bombardment, artillery firing and strafing of civilian homes and communities,” he said.

He also debunked the allegation on the use of child soldiers as mentioned by Padilla, noting that it has been proven false by a scientific field research, “Uncounted Lives, Children, Women & Conflict in the Philippines: A Needs Assessment of Children and Women Affected by Armed Conflict for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF),” published in 2007.

The research was made by think tank Ibon Foundation and the UNICEF.

Peace talks

Padilla in the same statement also berated the NDFP saying that the “demands of peace must be negotiated peacefully at the table and not through gunfire and the torching of establishments.”

But Jalandoni said, the NDFP has negotiated and signed twelve bilateral agreements with the GPH which include The Hague Joint Declaration, The Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, but the latter according to him, has “reneged on its obligations according to these agreements and shows no political will to continue negotiations.”

Jalandoni said the government of Aquino also ignored their offer of “truce and alliance in a special track of the peace negotiations,” adding that the GPH Panel and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process “appear to be interested only in making propaganda attacks against the revolutionary movement.”

“The NDFP is ready to continue negotiations on social and economic reforms and political and constitutional reforms,” he said.

Jalandoni further said that in blaming the people “for their just resistance against oppression and exploitation,” the GPH chief negotiator instead, is acting “to the rescue of the hated Marcos martial law regime” and defending “the equally brutal record of the Arroyo regime in its dirty war against the national democratic movement.”

The 14-year rule of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Jalandoni pointed out, has victimized hundreds of thousands of individuals while over 1,200 thousand individuals became victims of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) and over 200 became victims of enforced disappearances under former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s rule.

Even when Benigno Aquino III came to office, Jalandoni added, rights abuses continue with over 100 victims of EJKs including Italian missionary Father Fausto ‘Pops’ Tentorio and Dutch development worker Willem Geertman.

Furthermore, the Nobel Laureate George Wald, chair of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal Session in 1980, Jalandoni continued, declared the NDFP a “legitimate representative of the Filipino people” and its “armed struggle as a belligerency in accordance with international humanitarian law.”  (Marilou Aguirre-Tuburan/davaotoday.com)

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