THE communist National Democratic Front has ordered the arrest of former President Benigno Aquino III and his trial before a “people’s court” for the death of two farmers in the bloody dispersal of their protest in Kidapawan City in April 2016.
The NDF-Southern Mindanao said Aquino committed “war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international human rights law” over the violent dispersal of farmers who were protesting the lack of government aid in the midst of a drought brought about by the El Niño phenomenon on April 1, 2016.
Two farmers were killed and many others were injured in the dispersal.
The NDF also ordered the arrest of North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, Kidapawan City Mayor Joseph Evangelista, North Cotabato Representative Nancy Catamco, and other military and police officials, and said they would be meted the “appropriate penalties” after trial by a “people’s court.”
The Palace on Sunday rejected the NDF declaration.
“We only have one government and one justice system in the Philippines,” said Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella in a statement.
“Only the appropriate body can rule on the issue of the violent dispersal of farmers in Kidapawan,” Abella said.
Abella also assured the public that the former president will be given security.
“Security measures are in place to guarantee the protection of the former president and other personalities mentioned by the announcement of the National Democratic Front,” Abella said.
A year after the violent dispersal of farmers, the NDF in Southern Mindanao said former President Aquino has been indicted for crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international human rights law.
The NDF said it found “compelling evidence that the gross neglect and apathy” of Aquino and the other accused violated the fundamental rights of the civilians, guaranteed in international tenets, covenants and instruments.
The group said that the indictment “effectively prescribed the arrest” of Aquino and the others.
The NDF Southern Mindanao noted in its statement the “willful shooting that resulted in multiple violent deaths and serious injuries, the incarceration and the maltreatment of civilians were all deliberate acts of aggression against defenseless civilians and vulnerable sections of the civilian population long considered under international humanitarian law as protected persons.”
The announcement was made on the first anniversary of the violent dispersal of at least 6,000 farmers in Kidapawan City on April 1, 2016. Two persons were killed and over a dozen were hurt as policemen arrested and dispersed the protesting farmers.