Philippine police nab top rebel peace process consultant
The rebels' political arm, the National Democratic Front, described the arrests as "illegal" and a "flagrant violation" of safety guarantees because Baylosis was a peace talks consultant.
The NDFP has demanded the immediate and unconditional release of NDFP consultant Rafael Baylosis and his companion.
The arrests of Baylosis, 69, and Roque Guillermo was a product of intelligence and surveillance operations after a tip-off from residents in Quezon City, northeast of Manila, national police spokesman John Bulalacao said.
Baylosis, a member of the NDFP Reciprocal Working Group on political and constitutional reforms, is the first NDFP consultant rearrested after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the cancellation of the peace talks with the communist rebels and the rearrest of their consultants.
Progressive groups staged a protest in front of Camp Crame Thursday morning to call for the release of Baylosis.
Baylosis was arrested by personnel of the police's Criminal investigation and Detection Group National Capital Region (NCR).
The arrests of Baylosis and Guerrero angered the NDF and its sympathizers.
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Roque said even Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) could not be used for immunity from arrest.
Exiled CPP founder Jose Maria "Joma" Sison said the arrest of every peace consultant would make the resumption of negotiations "more hard".
"JASIG is already worthless because there is no more peace talks", Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press conference in Baguio City.
"Rafael Baylosis was arrested on the basis of a warrant that stemmed from false or trumped-up charges, and after the peace talks were terminated by Duterte", ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro said in a statement. Six of them are peace consultants and Jasig-protected.
Among the other NDFP consultants who were given temporary liberty were NPA secretary generals Benito and Wilma Tiamzon who were arrested in Cebu in 2014. "He has a warrant of arrest and our authorities may face dereliction of duties charges if they will not arrest him", Roque told a news briefing.
As to whether Baylosis' case was bailable or not, she also said it would be up to the Supreme Court. Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate pointed out that the Philippine government's peace panel has yet to send a written and official termination of the peace talks.
Government prosecutors ruled on Friday that a consultant for the left and his companion were "lawfully arrested" and there was enough evidence for them to stand trial for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
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