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NDF calls for peace talks resumption

by Pesante-USA/AJLPP Tuesday, Jul. 04, 2006 at 7:19 AM 213-241-0906 337 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

The prospect for the resumption of the peace negotiations in the Philippines remains bright despite the all-out attack of the Arroyo regime against the NPA and the MILF. Pesante-USA.AJLPP reprints the news article on the armed conflict that besets the county. Amid the government’s all-out offensive against the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), the National Democratic Front (NDF) pushed yesterday for the resumption of peace talks with the government.

NDF calls for peace talks resumption

By Christina Mendez

The Philippine Star 07/04/2006

Amid the government’s all-out offensive against the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), the National Democratic Front (NDF) pushed yesterday for the resumption of peace talks with the government.

NDF negotiating panel chairman Luis Jalandoni called for renewed peace talks after President Arroyo announced last week an all-out war against the NPA. The NDF is the CPP’s political arm.

Mrs. Arroyo had also released P1 billion to fund the renewed campaign against the NPA.

"In repudiation of the regime’s all-out war policy and the

extra-judicial killings and involuntary disappearances of political and leftist activists, we call for the resumption of formal peace talks between the GRP and the NDF as soon as possible," Jalandoni said.

The government’s renewed anti-insurgency campaign was launched amid a wave of killings of militants and left-leaning activists, mostly perpetrated by unknown assailants.

The NDF said the Arroyo administration’s all-out war against the CPP is not the answer "but in fact, will lead to further economic ruin" as it will trigger a rise in the incidence of human rights violations and displace more people, most of whom belong to the ranks of the elderly, women, and children.

According to Jalandoni, the government can resolve the question regarding the listing of the CPP and the NPA as "terrorist" organizations by the United States and the European Union by invoking the sovereignty of the Filipino people over Philippine events and circumstances, and taking into account the recent Supreme Court ruling that "acts of terrorism" do not exist in Philippine law and jurisprudence.

He said the Arroyo administration must order its military, police and paramilitary forces to cease and desist from engaging in atrocities or be known as "the butcher of democracy and political activists."

Jalandoni scored Gen. Jovito Palparan and other military officials for their alleged involvement in the killings.

"Palparan and other officers implicated in these violations must be investigated, charged and prosecuted. Their promotion is tantamount to license to perpetrate more extrajudicial killings and involuntary disappearances," he said.

Jalandoni reported that more than 690 extra-judicial killings and more than 180 involuntary disappearances have occurred since Mrs. Arroyo assumed power in 2001.

"These human rights violations are now a prejudicial question for the peace talks," he said.

Meanwhile, Sen. Rodolfo Biazon warned the government against completely abandoning discussions with the NDF in favor of localized peace talks with the rebels.

Biazon, a former Armed Forces chief himself, said the government has to make sure that the NDF, particularly CPP founder Jose Maria Sison, is truly marginalized as it claims before engaging the NPA directly in peace negotiations.

"I have at one time recommended that kind of policy but this can only be done if we are sure that Joma and company in the Netherlands have been reduced to a marginal level as far as effectiveness in providing leadership to the CPP-NPA is concerned," he said.

The apparent plan of the government to abandon the peace negotiations with the NDF was brought about by the impasse between the two sides since August 2004.

Sison has since denounced the plan for localized peace talks, saying the government should only deal with the NDF.

Biazon said that he would gladly support localized peace talks if Sison no longer has the same influence he did in the past.

"If their evaluation is that Joma Sison no longer matters, then I would agree to the proposition that we should talk to Ka Roger. But the problem is does Ka Roger no longer listen to Joma?" Biazon said, referring to NPA spokesman Gregorio "Ka Roger" Rosal.

Biazon pointed out that the CPP-NDF has consistently announced intensified operations against the government during its anniversaries and this directive automatically goes to the NPA.

"Is Joma sufficiently marginalized that we should abandon talking with (him) and shift to talking to the locals or we do we have to maintain both? That should be studied," he said.

However, Biazon said the government should address a more immediate concern — how the public perceives the armed forces and the police in the campaign against the insurgents.

"Are they considered oppressors or protectors? The military, the defense leadership, the President must examine how the military is being projected to the public. Is the deployment of three battalions in Quezon or Central Luzon being received by people as protectors or are they being perceived as oppressors?" he asked.

Consorting with the enemy?

Malacañang accused yesterday opposition Sen. Jamby Madrigal of betraying the public trust when she "consorted" with exiled communist leaders in the Netherlands even as it warned that the Department of Justice is studying possible legal action against her.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye also called on the Senate to investigate Madrigal’s meeting and issuing a joint communiqué last week with Sison and other NDF leaders.

"There is no other way of describing Madrigal’s inappropriate action but as a betrayal of the trust given to her by the Filipino people as an elected public official," Bunye said.

He described her move as that of a "desperate traditional politician engaged in a dark conspiracy with the enemies of the Constitution" and said she is "straddling positions between the democratic republic and the revolutionary left just to satisfy self-serving ends."

Madrigal signed the communiqué during her meeting last June 26 to 27 with Sison and Jalandoni, when they blamed Mrs. Arroyo’s all-out war against the NPA for the collapse of the peace talks.

The NDF leaders and Madrigal also demanded that the government ensure the removal of the CPP and NPA from the list of foreign terrorist organizations drawn up by the US and the European Union.

Sison also announced the CPP will negotiate with the political opposition in the belief that the Arroyo administration "was bound to end."

Madrigal was quoted as saying she went to The Netherlands to meet with NDF leaders in her capacity as a "senator and peace advocate."

Bunye contradicted Madrigal’s claim, saying "she cannot masquerade as a peace advocate."

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said Madrigal could be liable for violating Republic Act 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees) and the Revised Penal Code.

"Considering that a state of rebellion exists between the Sison-led NPA and the Philippine government, Madrigal had, in effect, committed acts tantamount to treason, punishable under Article 137 of the Revised Penal Code by adhering to the enemies of the republic (or) giving them aid or comfort," he said.

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