Kilusang Mayo Uno and other people’s organizations held a protest outside the Sta. Cruz Regional Trial Court in Laguna in time for the arraignment of activists Hedda Calderon, Ireneo Atadero, Ediesel Legaspi, Julio Lusania and NDFP consultant Adelberto Silva.
Silva, 71, and his four companions were arrested on October 15 at Barangay Pagsawitan. The four were to meet with Silva on the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER). Arresting officers said Silva had firearms in his possession.
Calderon, 63, is Gabriela Women’s partylist consultant. Atadero, 55, is a labor union organizer, Legaspi, 60, an agriculturist and organic farmer, while Lusania is the driver of the vehicle.
According to the arrested, their vehicle was stopped and they were made to alight and turn away from the vehicle and that was the time they thought the firearms were planted in their vehicle.
A release order for Calderon, Atadero, and Legaspi was already issued by a Laguna prosecutor on October 17. However, the order was immediately amended after the police submitted additional evidence. All five are now facing the non-bailable offense of illegal possession of explosives. The arresting authorities were later identified as combined elements of the CIDG, 2nd Infantry Division – 1st IBPA, and the Intelligence Service of the AFP (ISAFP).
Silva is supposedly protected from arrest, surveillance and harassment under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees or JASIG–among the binding agreements in the 30-year old peace negotiations.
The GRP and NDFP negotiating panels were set to approve the parts of the CASER, as the two parties were said to have come to an agreement on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development. This should have been included in the Interim Peace Agreement package, along with coordinated unilateral ceasefire and general amnesty documents, part of the
President Rodrigo Duterte, however, cancelled the fifth formal round of talks last June. The last round of talks during his administration were held in Amsterdam on April 2-6, 2017.