NDFP strongly condemns illegal arrest of NDFP consultant Rafael Baylosis and companion

Activists picket Camp Crame to demand the release of arrested NDFP consultant Rafael Baylosis

Activists picket Camp Crame to demand the release of arrested NDFP consultant Rafael Baylosis

The Tiamzon couple, who face multiple murder charges, as well as Baylosis, were consultants for the National Democratic Front, the rebels' political wing, in the peace negotiations, which Duterte cancelled late a year ago.

The NDFP demands the immediate and unconditional release of NDFP Consultant Rafael Baylosis and his companion, Jun.

He said the President must be held accountable for "this trampling upon a valid peace agreement that assures all consultants and those participating in peace negotiations immunity from surveillance, harassment, search, arrest, detention, prosecution and interrogation or any other similar punitive action".

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 past year.

Baylosis was released from detention in 2016 to join the peace talks.

Baylosis and Guerrero were placed under the custody of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group at its headquarters in Camp Crame.

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

"Baylosis is believed to be the acting secretary of the New People's Army", Bulalacao said, referring to the 3,000-strong guerrilla force that has waged a war in rural areas for almost 50 years.

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. He was arrested days before the scheduled launch of the NDFP's Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (Caser) full draft.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the safety and immunity guarantees were no longer in effect after Duterte scrapped the peace talks, telling human rights activists to challenge the arrest order in court. Six of them are peace consultants and Jasig-protected.

A police report seen by Reuters said Rafael Baylosis and a companion tried to flee from army and police intelligence agents who were following them but were cornered on Wednesday afternoon in the center of the capital, Manila.

Roque said that it would be a "dereliction of duty" if forces of the government did not arrest a person who has a pending case or a warrant arrest, or if there was basis for a warrant-less arrest.

Government prosecutors ruled on Friday that a consultant for the left and his companion were "lawfully arrested" and there was enough evidence for them to stand trial for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

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