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Noy worse than Gloria, CPP says

But Reds free 2 soldiers ahead of negotiations

THE Communist Party of the Philippines accused the Aquino administration Friday of being worse than the Arroyo government in terms of violating human rights and immunity agreements.

The critical assessment was released on the CPP’s 46th anniversary despite the expected resumption of formal peace talks next month.

“The Aquino regime is definitely far worse than the Arroyo regime in imprisoning far more people on trumped-up multiple charges of rebellion and common crimes in violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law,” the CPP said.

But while it criticized the Aquino administration, the communist rebels also released on Friday two military hostages they called “prisoners of war” to mark the CPP’s 46th anniversary.

The group said 14 consultants of the National Democratic Front have been jailed by the Aquino government, in violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees.

The communists also accused the administration of violating the so-called Hernandez doctrine that stemmed from a 1964 decision of the Supreme Court that rebellion cannot be complexed with other crimes such as murder, robbery and arson.

The Supreme Court at the time allowed the suspect, Amado Hernandez, to post bail and eventually acquitted him, saying crimes such as murder and arson were concomitant and inherent when rebellion is being waged.

“The Aquino regime is fundamentally as bad as the Arroyo regime in allowing illegal detention, torture, extrajudicial killings, forced evacuations, land grabbing from the peasants and repression of workers and their trade unions. The gross and systematic human rights violations under Oplan Bayanihan have exposed the regime’s claims to peace and development as a farce and have pushed the people and revolutionary forces to intensify the resistance in various forms and ways,” the CPP added.

In 2011, months after formal peace negotiations bogged down, government chief negotiator Alexander Padilla said the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees can no longer be invoked by arrested rebel leaders because the communists did not comply with its provisions.

Still, the CPP acknowledged that the National Democratic Front “continues to explore the possibility of peace negotiations in order to attain realizable goals for the benefit of the Filipino people.”

The longest-running insurgency movement in the region added that an indefinite ceasefire with the government can be eventually hammered out.

“What is good about the peace negotiations is that the NDF is able to... help bring about the victory of the revolution in the long run or before then help bring about truce and cooperation with a government that is not led by the party but which adopts patriotic and progressive policies to deal with the severe crisis brought about by imperialism and reaction,” the CPP said.

But in keeping with its annual tradition of calling for the downfall of any sitting government, the CPP also vowed to “support the people’s struggle to oust the Aquino regime as a step towards the overthrow of the entire ruling system or before the rise of a patriotic and progressive transition government.”

“(We must) intensify and advance the people’s war towards the stage of the strategic stalemate along the general line of the people’s democratic revolution,” the CPP said.

The CPP’s anniversary statement also acknowledged that the people’s war it has been waging is “developing unevenly.”

“The party’s central leadership is taking prompt and significant measures to address the disparities,” it added.

“All in all, the people’s war is developing unevenly in the various regions across the country and among sub-regions and fronts within a region...Some areas are confronted with problems of advance such as the training of commanders to effectively lead NPA platoons, companies and battalions, raising the capability and initiative of people’s militia units and commands, expanding and consolidating local party sections (among others),” the CPP said.

Earlier, CPP founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison said formal peace talks may resume in January after the visit of Pope Francis.

Sison said agreements on social and economic reforms as well as on an indefinite truce can also be completed before President Benigno Aquino III steps down in 2016.

Malacañang welcomed Sison’s announcement, saying “dialog provides the most viable opportunity for attaining peace.”

Presidential peace adviser Teresita Deles said the government is equally committed to maximize the remaining one year and a half under the Aquino administration in moving the peace talks forward.

Sison said special teams of both sides have met several times in the Netherlands since September “to iron out kinks.”

“The consensus reached by the special teams concern the agenda and compliance with existing agreements,” the communist leader said.

“There shall be one more meeting of the special teams within the first half of January and then the resumption of formal talks of the panels shall be after the papal visit,” Sison added.

The CPP’s armed wing, the New People’s Army released two military hostages Friday to mark the party’s 46th anniversary.

The two kidnap victims, Army PFC’s Jerrel Young and Mamel Cinches were freed after four months to unidentified negotiators and religious leaders at about 10:55 a.m. in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.

The hostages were taken by the rebels following an attack on a military post at Empasug-on, Bukidnon last Aug. 22. The release of Young and Cinches came barely a week after NPA rebels released two Army soldiers they held hostage last Dec. 2, at New Corella town in Davao del Norte.

Communist rebels disguised as workers abducted the two soldiers shortly after raiding a private plantation in Davao del Norte Monday morning.

Running for almost half a century, the communist insurgency has claimed 30,000 lives, according to military estimates.

The military declared a month-long ceasefire with the NPA for the Christmas holidays and Pope Francis’ scheduled visit in January. The rebels said they would observe a shorter truce.

The NPA’s strength has dwindled to 4,000 fighters from a peak of more than 26,000 in the late 1980s, according to the military.

Negotiations under Aquino faltered after the government turned down the rebels’ demands that their detained comrades be released. – With Francisco Tuyay, AFP

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