In her April 1 column “Dogs and Cats”, Ms. Rina Jimenez-David has given a smirking take on our arrest. She has chosen to skim through the froth of the official version, or rather official versions of the arrest and related issues and in doing so, she has joined in muddling some real questions.
First, the issue of trumped-up illegal possession of the firearms and explosives on the basis of planted evidence. This in fact was the context in which the “captured” pups and cats first gained particular attention. The AFP and PNP spokespersons then conjured the issue of supposedly pampered pets precisely to swamp this material issue—a ploy Ms. Jimenez-David only too eagerly backs and further still, stretches to greater muddle and scorn in her own nifty way.
The new, false and fabricated charge filed almost two days after the arrest was an obvious afterthought to cover previous fatal flaws in the manner of the arrest and to indefinitely detain the seven arrested persons without sufficient cause. Our lawyers raised questions to challenge the highly irregular and belated inquest proceedings for the trumped-up charge. But the DOJ prosecution panel acted as a virtual tag team with the PNP prosecution team to certify the filing of formal charges and order the detention of the accused.
Though a far too common practice, the filing of baseless charges based on planted evidence is a gross violation of basic human and democratic rights. It breeds widespread cynicism among the victims, perpetrators and the common tao about the “rule of law” and the human rights posturing of the State. The certification by the DOJ prosecution panel only goes to show that the leading purveyors of this sordid practice are not the common soldiers and policemen but those at the very top of the political, military, police and judicial authorities.
In this regard, it is well to keep in mind what ex-SC chief justice Artemio Panganiban said in his March 30 column—with Due Respect: “Filing baseless charges, whether for money or malice, is not unethical. It is brazenly criminal.”
Second, the issue of implementing JASIG and other signed agreements between the GRP and NDFP. This concerns the basic principle of negotiating in good faith and respecting the mutually agreed upon framework of peace talks as established by The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992 as well as implementing the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) signed in 1998.
The peace process has been deliberately stalled by the previous Arroyo and the current Aquino regimes because they both mistakenly believed that a short-cut military solution was achievable for them. They both adhered to the path of all-out militarization and military offensives to destroy the revolutionary forces or compel them to surrender or pacification, outright or under the guise of an indefinite ceasefire. The first was banking on US military assistance and intervention in line with the US “global war on terror” and unleashed Oplan Bantay Laya with Palparan as its poster boy. The latter continued with the Bantay Laya formula albeit with a new Bayanihan name, thinking that its Aquino mystique “daang matuwid” face and the incessant media and poll survey drumbeats could reduce the revolutionary forces into sitting ducks for military decimation and complete inconsequence.
Thus, both the Arroyo and Aquino regimes had done their darnest to cast away the The Hague framework of non-surrender, mutually acceptable universal principles and standards that require addressing the roots of the civil war and with end in view of forging agreements on basic social, economic and political reforms. All the huff and puff about communist trickery, recalcitrance, unreasonableness, and now, spoilery are squid tactics to camouflage and excuse the anomalous and arbitrary suspension of the JASIG and the freezing of the peace talks to make way for all-out military offensives and all-out shame campaign in the media.
And so with Ms. Jimenez-David seemingly at a loss as to how to set the peace process on the right foot, we would humbly suggest for a start to lay down first the true and real score about what has stalled it during the last 13 years or so.
Benito E. Tiamzon
NDFP National Consultant
NDFP National Consultant