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SolGen asks courts to order arrest of NDF consultants

Solicitor General Jose Calida asked several courts on Friday to cancel the bail bonds and order the arrest of National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultants facing criminal cases following the scrapping of backchannel talks with communist rebels.

Calida maintained the conditional release granted them by the courts are for the sole purpose of the peace negotiations, including backchannel talks which the government had canceled after the New People's Army (NPA) recently attacked government troops in several provinces.

The top government lawyer said the conditions are based on the Supreme Court resolution dated Aug. 2, 2016, which allowed the provisional liberty of NDF personalities Satur Ocampo, Randall Echanis and Vicente Ladlad.

"One of the conditions provide that once the peace negotiations are terminated, their bonds are deemed automatically cancelled,” Calida said.

"Since all judicial decisions form part of the law of the land, the courts can now issue recommitment orders as these NDF consultants are similarly situated to Echanis and Ladlad.”

According to Calida, President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration that the communist rebels are an enemy of the State "signifies that any peace negotiations with them have been rendered inutile and therefore must officially end."

Duterte made the statement on July 21 after the communist rebels called him a bully over the imposition of martial law in Mindanao.

“The NDF branded me as a bully. Correct you are 100 percent. I bully people who try to topple government and all the enemies of the State. That is my job, to bully you and to kill you, because there is a war going on between us and you,” the President said.

Twenty-one NDFP consultants, accused of various criminal cases pending before different trial courts in the country, were granted conditional release by the trial courts to enable them to participate in the peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway.

Among the NDFP consultants who have been released on bail are Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, both facing multiple murder and kidnapping charges before the Manila and Quezon City regional trial courts. — RSJ, GMA News