Sunday, December 19, 2010

CPP demands release of arrested NDFP official in Agusan

Outraged over what it called a violation of an ongoing ceasefire, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) demanded Sunday the release of a peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and his staff who were arrested in Mindanao last Friday.

The CPP said the arrest of Pedro Codaste and his companions was "a flagrant violation of the simultaneous ceasefire declarations."

"The arrest of Codaste and his staff is in outright violation of the letter and spirit of the simultaneous ceasefire declarations. The CPP and the NDFP demand that MalacaƱang immediately rectify the violation and order the local police to release with dispatch Codaste and his staff in order to boost, instead of destroy, the goodwill being generated on both sides for the resumption of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations next month," the CPP said in a statement posted on its website Sunday night.

The return of NDFP leader Luis Jalandoni from Europe early this month had fueled hopes of progress in peace talks between the government and the CPP and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA). The government had given Jalandoni, his wife and staff safe conduct passages during the ceasefire.

The ceasefire was intended partly to be a confidence-building measure for the negotiations set to begin in February. 

Police arrested Codaste and his four companions at a checkpoint in Bayugan town, Agusan del Sur.

Police said Codaste has standing warrants for his arrest issued by the Malabalay City Regional Trial Court Branch 8 for charges of double murder and double frustrated murder.

"The criminal charges against Codaste, now being used as justification for the arrest, are trumped-up and meant to harass the leaders of the NDFP," said the CPP.

It noted the government and the CPP had separately issued declarations that the ceasefire will take effect from December 16 until midnight of January 3, 2011.

Under the CPP-NDFP ceasefire declaration last December 7, "Officers and members of the [military and police] who have no serious liability other than their membership in their armed units shall not be subjected to arrest and punitive actions. They may be allowed individually to enter the territory of the people's democratic government to make personal visits to relatives and friends."

The CPP said it expects "reciprocity" from the police and military to also benefit the officers and members of the CPP-NDFP-NPA during the simultaneous ceasefire period.

"(But) by setting up checkpoints and arresting revolutionary forces during the ceasefire period, the police and military are preventing the revolutionary forces from enjoying free movement in order for them to visit or have access to their families and loved ones during the ceasefire period," said the CPP. - KBK, GMANews.TV

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