Adhere to JASIG, NDF’s Ka Paris tells Aquino gov’t

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/13 July) – The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace panel consultant arrested and detained in a provincial jail here for almost two years has challenged the Aquino administration to adhere to the 16-year-old Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) if the latter wants to differ from the Arroyo administration.

In an interview Wednesday, Alfredo “Ka Paris” Mapano said the NDFP’s decision to postpone negotiations with national government is well-grounded and justified since it has continuously violated the JASIG, an agreement entered into between NDF and government negotiators in the Netherlands on February 24, 1995.

“I can’t recall a time when the Philippine government (GPH) adhered to the JASIG ever since it was signed by both parties [long] ago,” said Mapano.

He said that if the Aquino government wishes to project his sincerity in forging a lasting peace, then he should release detainees covered by the JASIG, Mapano included.

He posited that President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s snail-paced response to NDFP’s demand to release all of its detained peace panel consultants – as confidence building measure – may be attributed to the President’s fear of earning the ire of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“PNoy is cautious not to earn the ire of the military because they have helped him a lot. While these military generals regard us as trophies, I don’t think the generals would like it if PNoy release us,” he said.

Mapano was arrested around 8:20 p.m. of August 1, 2009 when he was on “rest and recreation leave” with his family at a local apartelle in the city. He was arrested by a composite team from the 4th Infantry Division (4ID), National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) and Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (COCPO).

He was arrested by virtue of eight warrants for pending cases ranging from murder, frustrated murder, damage to properties, and robbery.

Arresting officers then said Mapano, who the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) announced was covered by JASIG, was still arrested because he had no documentation to prove he was covered by the agreement.

However, Mapano, in the interview, argued that he was not able to present documentation since his backpack containing his JASIG papers had been confiscated during a raid of their encampment a year before his arrest.

“When I was still temporarily detained at COCPO, a NICA agent showed me the list of NDFP personnel covered by JASIG and my name was there,” he said. Mapano explained that he was listed under his nom de guerre “Flor Escudo.”

Mapano will be on his second year of detention on Aug. 1 because of what he called as “delaying tactics” of the prosecution.

The Aquino administration’s dilly-dallying in addressing issues on human rights abuses, agrarian reform and the peace talks, he said, has further wavered his trust and confidence of PNoy’s sincerity in achieving a long-term peace pact with the Maoist insurgents who have the longest armed rebellion in Asia. (Cong B. Corrales / MindaNews)