Philippine military won't free arrested communist leader

Philippine military won't free arrested communist leader

MANILA - The Armed Forces of the Philippines on Thursday maintained that arrested communist leader Adelberto Silva was not covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig) and therefore should not be released.

The AFP issued the statement after the militant group Karapatan demanded that he be freed, claiming that Silva was a consultant of the National Democratic Front (NDF), the umbrella organisation of the communist movement in the country that is in peace talks with the government . The talks, however, have been shelved for the meantime.

Karapatan said that Silva, 67, was covered by the Jasig, the agreement between the government and the communists, under the assumed name "Percival Rojo."

Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, AFP public affairs office chief, however, brushed aside Karapatan's claim, saying there was no evidence Silva was covered by the Jasig.

"It is surprising that he is named as an NDF peace consultant despite his act of ordering the NPA (New People's Army) to wage armed violence against the people in the countryside," Cabunoc said.

Silva and two companions were captured by a combined military and police team last Monday in Bacoor, Cavite. He is reportedly the highest-ranking CPP-NPA leader today.

CPP is the Communist Party of the Philippines and the NPA is its armed wing.

"They could not prove that they were listed in the Jasig protected personalities as they could not present any evidence to prove this claim," Cabunoc said.

Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general, said Silva's arrest also violated the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law with the government.

Palabay also claimed that the evidence against Silva and his two companions was planted during their arrest.

"This practice of arresting individuals based on planted evidence should stop," she said.

Karapatan said there were 16 NDF consultants currently in detention among the 527 political prisoners in the country.


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