A court on Thursday cleared the way for a detained suspected leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to participate in the resumption of peace negotiations with the government in the Netherlands this month.
Alan Jazmines, an alleged CPP Central Committee member, was again allowed to travel abroad by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Taguig City, which granted him temporary freedom in a recent ruling.
Jazmines was forced to return to his detention cell at Camp Bagong Diwa after President Duterte canceled peace talks in November last year and sought to declare more than 600 people, including rebel consultants, terrorists.
5 other consultants
Assistant City Prosecutor Ronaldo Hubilla said in a motion to the court that the Department of Justice (DOJ) had ordered his office not to oppose the travel request filed by Jazmines, one of the consultants to the communist-led National Democractic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
NDFP legal adviser Edre Olalia was optimistic that five other consultants, who had asked the Manila RTC hearing their multiple murder charges, would also be allowed to travel with Jazmines.
In addition to Jazmines, the NDFP wanted CPP chair Benito Tiamzon, Adelberto Silva, Rafael Baylosis, Vicente Ladlad and Randall Echanis to take part in the talks.
The DOJ has set six conditions for granting provisional liberty to Jazmines and the others.
These include making a personal appearance before the courts trying their cases. The DOJ noted that Tiamzon and Silva went into hiding when their bail was rescinded after the talks were aborted last year.
The consultants also would be free only until the end of the informal talks, set for June 3-9 and June 22-28, and the succeeding formal negotiations in Oslo, Norway, slated for June 27-30. They would have to return to the country within three days after the talks, the DOJ said.
Baylosis was arrested in February on what he had alleged were trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
The DOJ set Baylosis’ bail for the firearms charge at P100,000.
CPP founding chair Jose Maria Sison, the NDFP’s chief political consultant, told the Inquirer on Wednesday that if the six consultants were denied permission to travel for the talks, “there would be no basis to hope or believe that there would be an amnesty and the release of all political prisoners.”
Sison said a preliminary truce, which he called a stand-down agreement, would be declared by the two sides within the month before formal talks were resumed and an interim peace agreement signed.
A formal bilateral ceasefire, which would include a monitoring system, would be in place for the duration of the talks, he added. — MATTHEW REYSIO-CRUZ
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