A lawyer on Friday branded Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque as “innocent or ignorant” for “killing peace negotiations” after he claimed that rebels are no longer covered by Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).
“Mr. Harry Roque should not make himself an accomplice in the killing of the peace negotiations,” Rachel Pastores, managing counsel of the Public Interest Law Center and lawyer of Rafael Baylosis, told the reporters.
Baylosis is a National Democratic Front (NDF) consultant who was arrested.
“Kasi po, itong patuloy na pag-arrest sa mga NDF consultants, hindi po ito nakakatulong sa clamor ng publiko na ituloy ang peace negotiations (Because this arresting of NDF consultants do not help in the public’s clamor to continue peace negotiations),” she explained.
On Thursday, Roque made a statement in a press conference saying, “Katungkulan ng President na ipatupad ang batas at dahil wala nang usaping kapayapaan, dahil sila rin naman ang may kasalanan d’yan, habang nakikipag-usap ng kapayapaan eh patay sila nang patay ng kasundaluhan (It is the President’s responsibility to implement the law because there are no more peace talks, it is also their fault for while there are peace negotiations, they are killing soldiers).”
Roque was saying that JASIG is no longer applicable as the peace talks were terminated.
JASIG is an agreement in which NDF consultants involved in the peace talks can enjoy immunity from surveillance, harassment, search, arrest, detention, prosecution, and interrogation.
Pastores, however, countered Roque by reading a copy of the agreement, “All immunities acquired by virtue of the JASIG shall remain in full force and effect even after the termination of the agreement.”
“Ano po ‘yung sinasabi nila na porket wala nang peace negotiation ay hindi na effective itong mga immunity guarantees under JASIG? ‘Yan po ay isang kasunduan (So what are they saying that just because there are no more peace negotiations, immunity guarantees under JASIG are not effective anymore? This is an agreement),” she explained.