THE military and the Northern Mindanao police are both waiting for an official order for the arrest of National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultants who were temporarily freed from jail to participate in the now "aborted" peace talks.
Already, President Rodrigo Duterte had advised the NDF consultants to surrender after his recent order for the termination of the government’s peace negotiations with the communist rebels.
Captain Joe Patrick Martinez, spokesperson of the army's 4th Infantry Division (4ID), said they will stand by until a warrant is out to arrest the NDF consultants.
"Hinihintay lang natin yung warrant of arrest kailangan we have the papers and we have to follow the law, kung meron na niyan, tuloy-tuloy na tayo sa operation (We are just waiting for the arrest warrant, we should have the papers and we have to follow the law. Once we have it in our hands, our operations will follow)," Martinez said.
Alfredo Mapano and Pedro Codaste, two of the NDF peace consultants in Northern Mindanao have been freed from the Misamis Oriental Provincial Jail (MOPJ) and Malaybalay City jail, respectively, in August last year to join the peace talks.
Martinez said these NDF consultants were perhaps considered as accomplices of the atrocities perpetrated by the communist guerillas as they supposedly have a hand and participation as so-called `thinkers’ in the economic sabotage carried out by the New Peoples Army (NPA).
"Now that the peace talks are no longer in effect, the authorities will bring Mapano and Codaste back in jail for them to continue to face the crimes they've committed. We will not let these two sow fear against the people in this part of the country. We will execute our mandate to protect our people and their communities against this terror group," Martinez said.
On the other hand, Superintendent Lemuel Gonda, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office-Northern Mindanao (PRO-10), said once the order comes out, NDF consultants in the region who were earlier freed would then be arrested.
Gonda said Mindanao remains under martial law and the Arrest, Search and Seizure Order issued by the Department of Defense may be a reference to arrest the NDF consultants.
Gonda is urging the public to report any information on the whereabouts of the these peace consultants.
"Katong naay nahibal-an i-report dayon sa police dili nila taguan ug dli na sila maghatag suporta (Those who have the knowledge of their whereabouts, they should report it to the police and not hide them)," Gonda said.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on November 28, 2017.