By CPP Information Bureau
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today denounced the Philippine National Police (PNP) for arresting a ranking officer of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in Northeast Mindanao and at least four of his staff as "a flagrant violation of the simultaneous ceasefire declarations." The ceasefire declarations issued separately by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the CPP-NDFP took effect at dawn of 16 December and will last until midnight of 3 January next year.
On 17 December, police operatives arrested Pedro Codaste and his companions at a checkpoint in Bayugan town, Agusan del Sur. Police officers justified their action by claiming that Codaste has standing warrants for his arrest. They gave no explaination for the basis of the arrest of his companions.
"The criminal charges against Codaste, now being used as justification for the arrest, are trumped-up and meant to harass the leaders of the NDFP," said the CPP.
"The arrest of Codaste and his staff is in outright violation of the letter and spirit of the simultaneous ceasefire declarations," said the CPP. "The CPP and the NDFP demand that Malacañang immediately rectify the violation and order the local police to release with dispatch Codaste and his staff in order to boost, instead of destroy, the goodwill being generated on both sides for the resumption of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations next month."
"By setting up checkpoints and arresting revolutionary forces during the ceasefire period, the police and military are preventing the revolutionary forces from enjoying free movement in order for them to visit or have access to their families and loved ones during the ceasefire period," added the CPP.
The CPP-NDFP ceasefire declaration issued last 7 December stated that "Officers and members of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP (Philippine National Police) who have no serious liability other than their membership in their armed units shall not be subjected to arrest and punitive actions. They may be allowed individually to enter the territory of the people's democratic government to make personal visits to relatives and friends."
The CPP said that it expects reciprocity from the AFP and PNP to also benefit the officers and members of the CPP-NDFP and the New People's Army during the simultaneous ceasefire period.
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