Philippines: Peasants Shut Down Trial of Political Prisoners

Tiamzon couple hearing suspended as Quezon City Courthouse Shuts Down

The Quezon City Regional Trial Court suspended work today, as peasants and activists protested on its grounds and called for the release of political prisoners Wilma and Benito Tiamzon.

 

BY DEE AYROSO
Bulatlat.com

 

MANILA – The pre-trial hearing of political prisoners Wilma and Benito Tiamzon was deferred today, Oct. 21, as the Quezon City Hall of Justice suspended work for the day at around 8:30 a.m., prompted by a protest of more than 1,000 peasants outside the court.

Detained Tiamzons cheering with peasant protesters (Photo by DEE AYROSO / bulatlat.com)

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Philippines: Press reports and Wikileaks cast doubt on peace talks, Sison authority

NDF negotiators meet Norwegian envoy in bid to break impasse

05-Sep-11, 2011 | Agence France-Presse

MANILA, Philippines – Communist rebel negotiators met a special Norwegian envoy on Monday in a fresh bid to reopen stalled peace talks to end a four-decade war with the government, aides said.

The chief negotiator of the National Democratic Front, Luis Jalandoni, met the envoy at the embassy in Manila but details of the talks were not disclosed, the rebels’ secretariat said.

Government negotiator Alexander Padilla told AFP he would meet the Norwegian envoy on Tuesday but he did not know if the rebel negotiators would be at the talks as well.

Norway, which has been brokering the on-and-off talks, sent the envoy, Ture Lundh, to Manila after negotiations stalled over the demand of the NDF that the government free 13 captured comrades it said are consultants of its peace negotiating panel.

The two sides hope to seal a peace accord by June 2012 but the new impasse has soured ties, with the government accusing the NDF of bad faith for kidnapping a town mayor and four jail guards recently.

Meanwhile, recent US embassy cables leaked by the anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks revealed splits within the insurgent leadership, with self-exiled rebel founder Jose Maria Sison losing influence. Continue reading

Philippines: Military abuse and extra-judicial killings are not “humanitarian”

Army chief hit over human rights remark

Sun Star, Saturday, June 25, 2011

ARMED Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Eduardo Oban drew flak from a militant group for saying that the government’s counter-insurgency program is founded on “human rights.”

Karapatan chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez said initial results of “Oplan Bayanihan” show that some Filipinos were “displaced from their homes and communities, harassed, arrested and detained, tortured and killed” due to the policy.

The group has documented 17 persons killed through extrajudicial means from January to mid-June this year, bringing the number of people killed under President Benigno Aquino III to 45. Continue reading

Philippines: Government and National Democratic Front agree to reopen peace talks in February, set 16 day cease fire

Straits Times, December 3, 2010

Philippines, Maoists to resume talks

MANILA – The Philippines and Maoist rebels have agreed to resume peace talks early next year, officials said on Friday, the first breakthrough in tackling either of two long-running insurgencies since the new government came to office this year.

After two days of informal talks in Hong Kong on Wednesday and Thursday, the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) also agreed on a 19-day Christmas ceasefire starting December 16, which if it holds would be the longest in 10 years.

Right: Relatives and friends hold photos of loved ones among the 43 men and women arrested earlier in the year as suspected communist rebels during a rally in front of the Department of Justice in Manila.

There have been on-off talks since 1986 to end an insurgency that began in the 1960s and has killed 20,000 people and scared off potential investors in resource-rich rural communities.

Alexander Padilla, the government’s chief peace negotiator, told reporters the two sides would have another informal meeting next month ahead of the resumption of formal talks in Oslo, Norway in February. ‘This would again be the first of such talks after having been suspended last August 2005,’ he said, adding the government is committed to a ‘just and honourable settlement of conflicts’.

In a statement, NDF chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni reiterated the Maoists’ call for the release of 43 health workers detained on suspicion of being rebels and three rebel leaders who it says are part of the negotiations.

 

Philippine government negotiator and Luis Jalandoni of the NDF meet in Hong Kong to reopen peace talks

BBC News Asia-Pacific, 2 December 2010

Peace talks have been suspended since 2004

Representatives of the Philippines government and of the country’s Communist Party are meeting in Hong Kong to find a way to reopen peace talks.

The government’s chief negotiator Alexander Padilla is meeting with Luis Jalandoni of the National Democratic Front, or NDF. The NDF is an umbrella group of leftist organisations including the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). The party, founded in 1968, still poses a threat in parts of the country.

Some of its former leaders hold seats in the Senate and Congress while others, such as Mr Jalandoni, face arrest warrants in the Philippines.

The talks are being held in Hong Kong to assuage his fears of arrest if he returned to the Philippines. He lives in exile in the Netherlands as does the head of the CPP, Jose Maria Sison.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino set up a panel in October to seek a way to re-open peace talks. “It’s the very first step to lay the good foundation for the talk. They (government negotiators) know that they have my entire support behind them. So I would not pressure them to coming up with results just for a good soundbite. We really want to achieve the lasting solutions towards this longest-running insurgency,” he said. Continue reading

Philippines: New People’s Army releases prisoner of war, demands freedom for all political prisoners

Map of Mindanao in the southern Philippines. The boxed area is where the Moro population is concentrated. As you can see from the inset map, the Philippines occupies a strategic location for US war planning aimed at countering the increasing projection of military power in Asia by the Chinese imperialists.

 

[Some background to this press release and the revolutionary movement in the Philippines: The New People’s Army is the military arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines, which has over 100 guerilla fronts in all of the 11 major islands of the Philippines. The CPP/NPA has established People’s Democratic Governments in many of these fronts.  The Compostela Valley guerilla zone mentioned in this press release is an area in southeast Mindanao, one of the two largest islands in the Philippines. The Moro people are the oppressed Muslim people who live in large parts of Mindanao and the islands south of Mindanao. The AFP is the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which conducts brutal military operations against the NPA and its popular base of support according to US counter-insurgency military doctrine. The AFP receives hundreds of millions of dollars in US military aid annually, conducts regular “joint exercises” with US marines and naval forces, and receives training from US Special Forces units who operate out of a US military base in Zamboanga, Mindanao.

After the US imperialists opened a “second front in the war against terrorism” in the Philippines in 2002, they inserted US forces into the Moro areas of the Philippines in the name of fighting against the Abu-Sayyaf, a small fundamentalist Islamic group that the CIA had armed and supported to fight against Soviet imperialist forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s. The real targets of the US military forces were the CPP/NPA guerilla fronts  in Mindanao and a Moro organization fighting for independence, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. In order to stop the growth of the CPP/NPA and the MILF, the Arroyo regime and now the Aquino government have ordered the AFP to coordinate its counter-insurgency operations with the US military base at Zamboanga in spite of the Constitution’s prohibition on foreign military bases on Philippines soil.–Frontlines ed]

Rigoberto F. Sanchez, Spokesperson, Merardo Arce Command, Southern Mindanao Regional Operational Command, New People’s Army

From Philippine Revolution (www.philippinerevolution.com),  28 November 2010

The Merardo Arce Command-Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command of the New People’s Army has ordered the release of Cpl. Daiem Amsali Hadjaie of the 25th Infantry Battalion of the 10th Infantry Division-Armed Forces of the Philippines (Serial No. 813144) after 12 days of captivity as prisoner of war of the Conrado Heredia Command-Front 20 Operations Command-NPA.

The CHC-NPA custodial unit undertakes POW Cpl. Hadjaie’s safe and orderly release today, 28 November, in the guerilla territory in Compostela Valley Province.

The order to release Cpl. Hadjaie is an exercise of the revolutionary forces’ own political authority and based on humanitarian grounds. This is consistent with the revolutionary movement’s long-standing policy of humane and lenient treatment of POWs and its serious adherence to the NDFP [National Democratic Front of the Philippines] Declaration of Undertaking to Apply the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Protocol 2 of 1977. Continue reading