Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison said the arrest of Vicente Ladlad signifies that President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration “leaves no space” for the resumption of the peace talks
The arrest, Sison said, would give Duterte “the pretext to establish a fascist dictatorship through martial law and charter change for a bogus federalism.”
The top communist leader issued the statement after the Palace said the sudden arrest of Ladlad, a peace consultant for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, was not a violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees, because it was no longer in force after peace talks were terminated.
But Sison called on the government to stop its “dirty war” by framing the likes of Ladlad to look like an armed combatant.
“It is absolutely wrong for the government’s military and police to plant an entire armory [not just one but several firearms, plenty of ammo and explosives] and make Ladlad appear as a combatant despite his aging and sickly condition,” Sison said.
“The Duterte regime should stop playing a dirty war and victimizing unarmed elderly people,” he added.
Sison said Ladlad, Raffy Baylosis and Adelberto Silva were victims of Duterte’s “malicious policy” of violating the terms of the JASIG.
“The arrest of the three NDFP personnel threaten all NDFP peace negotiators, consultants, resource persons, and experts who have in good faith participated in the peace negotiation,” Sison said.
“Why is Duterte threatening them with punitive actions and forcing them to abandon their legal existence?” he added.
On Thursday, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo maintained the JASIG is only operative if there are peace talks ongoing, adding Ladlad’s arrest needed no warrant as the crime of rebellion continues.
But Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde said Ladlad was arrested, not for his communist affiliation, but for the crime of illegal possession of firearms.
On Friday, acting Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said nobody was above the law.
He said Ladlad and his companions were found to be in possession of high-caliber firearms, which is clearly a violation of the law.
“No matter who you are, if you illegally possess these firearms, you will be arrested and punished,” he said in Filipino.
He said the arrest of Ladlad was a classic case of “a wolf in sheep’s clothing,”as he pretended to be an advocate of peace but took up arms against the government and espoused violence.
Año said before Laldad’s arrest, the CPP Central Committee member had constantly eluded being taken into police custody by jumping bail despite the 15 counts of murder filed against him before Branch 32 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila.
“We are not at all shocked of his possession of high-caliber firearms. If you look at the background of these people, you will see that they have been working to oust the government and our democratic way of life,” he said.
Ladlad was also charged with multiple counts of murder for his alleged involvement in the New People’s Army’s “Oplan Venereal Disease,” which purged the communist ranks of suspected government spies, and which was linked to a mass grave found in August 2006 in Sitio
Sapang Dako, Barangay Culisihan, Inopacan, Leyte, the Interior Department said.
The Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office recommended no bail for Ladlad.
Ladlad, who was in handcuffs, was accompanied by his wife, Fides, in inquest proceedings yesterday afternoon.
Supporters of Ladlad flocked to the new hall of justice to seek his release.
After the inquest proceedings, the NDFP consultant was taken to the detention facility at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City.
On Thursday morning, members of the Quezon City Police District by virtue of a search warrant raided his house in Barangay San Bartolome, Novaliches.
They said they found an AK47 with a bayonet, a magazine assembly for AK47 with nine rounds of ammunition, an Elisco M16A1 assault rifle, three magazines for two long firearms and one short
firearm, a .45-calibre Colt pistol, two magazines for .45-cal. pistol, a 9mm pistol, four hand grenades, electronic devices, subversives documents and two flags of The Netherlands.
Also arrested were Alberto and Virginia Villamor.
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