‘Only real terrorists parade their captives in public for humiliation and ignominy that is a throwback to the dark ages of uncivil conduct’
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) protested the labelling given to one of its peace consultants arrested in Malaysia early this month and deported to the Philippines yesterday, April 17.
In a statement, NDFP Negotiating Panel interim chairperson Juliet de Lima said the treatment given to Casilao by the Philippine National Police (PNP) was “totally unacceptable” as it did not only violate his basic human rights and the international humanitarian law but was also “shamelessly inhuman.”
Casilao was marched by full battle-geared PNP personnel as he alighted from a van through several journalists at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, taken to the departure area and flown to Davao City Monday afternoon.
The PNP also repeatedly described Casilao as one of the top leaders of the “communist terrorist group,” a police and military labelling of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) vehemently rejected by the said groups.
De Lima said it is the PNP, not Casilao, who are the real terrorists.
“Only real terrorists parade their captives in public for humiliation and ignominy that is a throwback to the dark ages of uncivil conduct,” de Lima fumed.
She reminded the Philippine government that Casilao has the universal right to be presumed innocent until his case is heard in an impartial court of law under due process.
“He has the right to legal counsel and other basic civil rights that should be observed by civilized systems,” she added, echoing a point earlier made by Casilao’s brother and former Anakpawis Representative Ariel Casilao on Monday.
The PNP claimed Eric Jun is the secretary of the CPP’s Southern Mindanao Regional Committee who has recently been elected to the party’s Central Committee.
The police said he has existing warrants of arrest for murder, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, and attempted murder charges and carries a P5.4 million bounty on his head.
The NDFP however said Casilao was a victim of constant harassment upon his designation as the second nominee of the Anak ng Bayan party in 2004.
He has decided to go underground to seek sanctuary with the masses since, the NDFP added.
He then served as an NDFP consultant for the Reciprocal Working Committee on the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio Economic Reforms (CASER) in Southern Mindanao, the group said.
The NDFP-Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) has approved free land distribution for poor farmers under the social and economic reform substantive agenda when former GRP President Rodrigo Duterte decided to walk away from formal peace negotiations in 2017.
Several NDFP peace consultants have since been brutally murdered and arrested under suspiciously uniform charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives, murder, arson, and kidnapping and serious illegal detention such as those Casilao are being charged with.
“The Negotiating Panel demands that his (Casilao) life, security and safety are guaranteed also in compliance with the binding mandates of the GRP-NDFP Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and the GRP-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL),” de Lima said, citing the formal agreements that should exempt peace consultants and staff from arrest and harm. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)