PNP Director General Oscar Albayalde said arresting officers seized short firearms, magazine, three hand grenades, and bags that contain “subversive documents, articles and notes” from the three.
The STAR/Boy Santos
PNP: Aside from murder case, NDFP consultant, 2 others to face firearms raps
( - March 25, 2019 - 11:29am

MANILA, Philippines — Authorities on Monday confirmed the arrest of National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace consultant Francisco Fernandez and two others in Laguna on Sunday.

In a press conference on Monday, Director General Oscar Albayalde, Philippine National Police chief, said that the Laguna Provincial Police Office and the Philippine Army’s 202nd Brigade arrested Fernandez, Cleofe Lagtapon and Gee-Ann Perez during the service of a warrant for a murder case.

The arrests were done in Barangay Calumpang in Liliw, he said. Initial reports said the arrests were in nearby Nagcarlan.

Fernandez is spokesperson of NDFP-Negros.

Albayalde said that the three are active members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

He said arresting officers seized short firearms, magazine, three hand grenades, and bags that contain “subversive documents, articles and notes” from the three.

He said the three will also face complaints for violating the Commission on Elections’ gun ban and illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

Fernandez included in proscription petition

Fernandez was among hundreds named in the government’s court bid to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army as terrorist groups. The Manila court handling the government’s plea dropped him as a party to the list as it found “nothing therein to establish that they...are connected to, or associated with, respondent CPP-NPA.”

RELATED: Joma Sison named as party in government's bid for 'terrorist' tag vs CPP-NPA

Maj. Gen. Rhoderick Parayno, commander of the Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, said that Fernandez’ arrest “will definitely put an end to Joma Sison’s efforts to elevate the peace talks to national level.”

Sison founded the CPP in 1968 and is now the NDFP's chief political adviser.

RELATED: Joma: Duterte an ‘old broken record’ over terminating peace talks

The Army general added that Fernandez is based in the Visayas but was hiding in Laguna.

Parayno said that Fernandez is the sixth peace consultant authorities have arrested. Peace consultants are supposedly covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees, which protects them from arrest, but the government suspended JASIG when President Rodrigo Duterte terminated peace talks in November 2017.

Presidential peace adviser Carlito Galvez said last week that agreements with the CPP-NPA-NDFP have been suspended pending review by the president.

Duterte announced a “permanent” termination of peace talks with communist rebels last week, days after he terminated the appointments of members of the government peace panel.  — Kristine Joy Patag

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