PALACE SAYS JALANDONI WON’T BE ARRESTED
MANILA -- Malacañang on Tuesday reassured that there will be no arrest for National Democratic Front (NDF) leader Luis Jalandoni once he returns to the Philippines to join informal peace talks, noting that his fear of being arrested is “misplaced.”
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this comment citing the sincerity of President Rodrigo R. Duterte in his desire to “explore the possibility of resuming peace talks.”
“The apprehension of the National Democratic Front (NDF) leader, Luis Jalandoni, that he would be arrested once he sets foot in Philippine soil is misplaced,” Panelo said in a press statement.
“Given that the President has opened a venue for informal talks with the NDF leaders to explore the possibility of resuming the peace talks, it goes without saying that no arrest shall be made during the days of informal talks,” he added.
Panelo explained that the earlier pronouncement of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año that Jalandoni would be arrested upon his return was made when the peace talks was canceled by the President due to the violations of the ceasefire agreement by the communist rebels.
However, Panelo said both parties’ openness to resume peace talks should affirm that Jalandoni’s liberty will not be threatened.
“Mr. Jalandoni's intention in returning to the country is to promote the peace talks between their movement and the Philippine government, he is assured therefore that no arrest will be effected upon his person," he said.
“To think otherwise is contrary to logic for certainly, a successful amicable discussion between the parties cannot be expected when one party's liberty is -- or threatened to be -- compromised,” he added.
On Monday, Panelo expressed hope that the meeting would push through if the terms and conditions are agreed upon.
He stressed that Jalandoni’s fear of arrest did not mean that the informal talks were cancelled.
“There is no cancellation of any informal talk. What we have is one of them saying that he is afraid of being arrested. And we’re saying that you cannot be arrested if you would want to have a talk,” Panelo said in an interview over ANC.
Jalandoni reportedly cancelled his trip back to the Philippines this month due to threat of arrest by the government.
Earlier, Duterte ordered Panelo and Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza to meet with Jalandoni and his colleague, Fidel Agcaoili, in an informal chat