NDF consultant gets 40 years for illegal possession of firearms
Mike Frialde (The Philippine Star) - December 13, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A consultant of the communist-led National Democratic Front (NDF) was sentenced last Wednesday to 40 years in prison by a Muntinlupa City regional trial court for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

The human rights group Karapatan said the conviction of NDF consultant Eduardo Sarmiento by Judge Myra Bayot Quiambo of Muntinlupa RTC Branch 203 was in violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) that was signed in 1995 by representatives of the Philippine government and the NDF.

According to Karapatan, as a consultant to the peace process Sarmiento is covered by JASIG, having been involved in the peace negotiations between the government and the NDF since 1986, representing the Eastern Visayas region.

“Sarmiento should have been released as early as 2011, had the Aquino government fulfilled its commitment, contained in the February 2011 Oslo GPH-NDFP Joint Statement, to release ‘most, if not all, political prisoners.’ In fact, Sarmiento should have not been arrested at all,” said Karapatan in a statement.

Karapatan said that Sarmiento’s arrest on Feb. 24, 2009 was faulty because it was warrantless and the evidence found on him was allegedly planted.

The group said Sarmiento’s arresting officers claimed they had two warrants of arrest for arson and for multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder issued by the Catbalogan Regional Trial Court Branch 29 and of the Municipal Trial Court of Paranas, Samar, respectively.

Sarmiento was later charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives for allegedly carrying a brown bag with one fragmentation grenade.

Karapatan said Sarmiento had a P2-million bounty on his head which was supposedly awarded to an informant. At the time of his arrest, Sarmiento was in Manila for consultations. He was arrested near a mall in Alabang, Muntinlupa by joint elements of the army intelligence and the Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

 

CATBALOGAN REGIONAL TRIAL COURT BRANCH CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION AND DETECTION GROUP EASTERN VISAYAS EDUARDO SARMIENTO JOINT AGREEMENT JOINT STATEMENT JUDGE MYRA BAYOT QUIAMBO OF MUNTINLUPA KARAPATAN MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT OF PARANAS MUNTINLUPA CITY SARMIENTO
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