NDF consultant in peace talks with govt arrested

Philippine police nab top rebel peace process consultant

NDFP condemns arrest of consultant

Officials confirmed that Salinas and Baylosis were among the 18 "consultants" of the National Democratic Front (NDF), the political arm of the CPP-NPA that represented the Maoists in the aborted peace talks hosted by Oslo, Norway as the third party facilitator.

NDFP, moreover, demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Baylosis and his companion, Jun, who are now detained at Camp Crame in Quezon City.

He said Duterte should be held accountable "for this trampling upon a valid peace agreement" that assures all those involved in the peace talks immunity from arrest.

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.

Philippine security forces arrested the head of the communist movement's armed wing following President Rodrigo Duterte's order to target guerrilla leaders after peace talks collapsed, police and human rights activists said on Thursday.

Based on a report by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Baylosis was arrested around 3:45 p.m. Wednesday along with alleged NPA member Guillermo Roque at Aurora Boulevard corner Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City.

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The arrests of Baylosis and Guerrero angered the NDF and its sympathizers.

In the absence of a formal termination of the negotiations, NDFP Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison said the NDFP is asking the GRP to respect the Jasig to keep open the possible resumption of the peace negotiations.

"President Duterte must not be allowed to kill and destroy the peace negotiations", he added. They should also demand that President Duterte respect and implement the JASIG, the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL, 1998) and other binding peace agreements. Six of them are peace consultants and Jasig-protected.

Zarate described the arrest as "ill-advised" and can be interpreted as "harassment" against NDFP consultants and personnel. "If a person has warrant of arrest or if there is basis for warrantless arrest, he should be arrested because if not, it will be dereliction of duty", Roque, a lawyer, explained.

National labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said the arrest of Baylosis "grossly violated previous peace agreements and further blocks hopes of resuming the peace talks towards addressing the socio-economic roots of the armed conflict".

The Tiamzon couple were arrested four years ago, but were among dozens of jailed rebels freed by Duterte as part of confidence-building measures when he took office as president in 2016.

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