Police arrest NDFP consultant Rafael Baylosis

The NDFP earlier said they have yet to receive such formal notification from the GRP after President Rodrigo Duterte verbally ordered the termination of peace negotiations in December a year ago.

It added: "All immunities acquired by virtue of this Joint Agreement shall remain in full force and effect even after the termination of this Joint Agreement, provided said immunities shall not cover acts which are contrary to the purposes of the peace negotiations and outside and beyond involvement or participation in the peace negotiations".

Jalandoni said the President should be blamed for "trampling" on the peace agreement.

Baylosis was granted bail in August 2016, along with other peace consultants, to attend the peace talks in Norway.

KMU secretary-general Jerome Adonis said the arrest of Baylosis quashed the possibility of the NDF resuming talks with the government and achieving peace in the country. Duterte had accused the rebels of using the peace talks as a cover to stage attacks, including one past year that left a young girl dead.

Through its leaders, the NDF branded the arrests of Baylosis and Guerrero "illegal" and a "flagrant violation" of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig) between the government and the rebels and demanded their "immediate and unconditional release".

She noted that Baylosis' bail was valid at the time of his arrest, citing the order of the Regional Trial Court of Manila denying prosecution's motion to cancel his bail.

Exiled CPP founder Jose Maria "Joma" Sison said the arrest of every peace consultant would make the resumption of negotiations "more hard".

"CARHRIHL is human rights and humanitarian law".

"Every arrest of an [NDF] peace negotiator or a consultant makes the resumption of peace negotiations more hard and serves to further incite the armed revolution of the people", Sison said.

In a separate statement, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate labeled the arrest of Baylosis "as ill-advised and a "blatant violation" of Jasig".

"Obviously Roque is innocent and ignorant of the agreements made during the peace negotiations", Pastores said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque defended the move, saying it would be a "dereliction of duty" on the part of the government not to arrest a person "who has a case, who has a warrant of arrest, if there is basis for a warrantless arrest".

Malacanan Palace reiterated, however, that the arrests of Baylosis and Guerrero were legal.

"Wala namang saysay ang JASIG na 'yun kasi wala nang peace talks (That JASIG is useless since there are no peace talks)", Roque said.

Roque said it was the sworn duty of President Rodrigo Duterte to implement the laws.

A top security official, however, stressed the arrest of Baylosis is likely to drive some of the freed communist rebels to go underground.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)

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