MANILA, Philippines – Unless President Rodrigo Duterte orders them to stand down, police will arrest top National Democratic Front (NDF) consultants Luis Jalandoni and Fidel Agcaoili when they arrive in the Philippines, said Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año.
"They have warrants of arrest. I will have them arrested, unless the President will order me not to effect the arrest. But for me, I will arrest them," Año said in a Rappler Talk interview at Camp Crame on Thursday, November 15.
Año's warning came just days after Duterte announced that the two senior NDF consultants sought a conversation with him in the Philippines, presumably over the terminated peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Duterte said he would first have to talk with his security officials before deciding on the invitation.
Can police arrest them? Asked to specify for which cases the arrest warrants were issued, Año said one warrant is out for Agcaoili in Quezon.
Jalandoni, according to Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Chief Superintendent Benigno Durana, has kidnapping cases filed against him in Quezon too.
Durana told Rappler in a text message that even if there may be no standing arrest warrant, they could always ask the courts for one.
"[The] security sector can secure alias warrants for all their cases," Durana said in a text message.
Invitation doubted: While Duterte has yet to decide on the invitation, former military chief and rebel hunter Año, meanwhile, has already decided that talks would be a farce.
He said that the two are not out to sincerely present compromises for peace talks to resume, but their goal is to unite and restore the morale of the CPP and its armed wing, the New People's Army.
"These two NDF personalities will only do that (speaking with Duterte) on the side, because that is only a reason for them to arrive here. They will conduct meetings with senior officers of the CPP-NPA because they are now in disarray," Año said.
The supposed disarray, Año said, comes from the back-to-back arrests of alleged CPP-NPA leaders, NDF consultants Adelberto Silva and Vicente Ladlad. Año added that the communists have also been alarmed after apparently seeing the continuous flow of CPP-NPA combatants and sympathizers surrendering themselves to the government. – Rappler.com