THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) confirmed Monday the arrest of a National Democratic Front (NDF) consultant, who was freed on bail last year to join the peace negotiations.

Captain Rhyan Batchar, 10th Infantry Battalion spokesperson, said that Ariel Mancao Arbitrario, also known as Ka Marlon, was arrested along with his companion, Rhoderic Manuyak, in a checkpoint along Barangay Sirawan, Toril in Davao City around 9 a.m. of February 6. They were on board a Colorado LT, which was driven by Rosario Sinday.

Arbitrario, a consultant of the NDF and secretary of the New People’s Army (NPA) Guerilla Front 2 operating in Compostela Valley, was arrested and charged with murder and attempted murder last February 17, 2016.

Batchar said Manuyak is also an NPA member facing “murder charges.”

He said the two were placed under the custody of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Davao.

Arbitrario was with his brother Crispolo Arbitrario, alias Calvin, when he was arrested by the authorities in a checkpoint for illegal possession of firearms and explosives in Tagum City.

He was freed after he posted bail in August last year and headed to Norway for the peace talks between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA-NDFP.

Ariel Casilao of the Anak Pawis Partylist, who is also a member of the peace reconciliation committee of the congress, had said one of the bases why Arbitrario should not be arrested is the fact that the court granted him bail and that the case lodged against him is still ongoing.

“The temporarily liberty that they're currently holding now is because the court granted them, until and unless the court revokes the bail that they have been provided,” Casilao said in an ambush interview Monday.

Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte terminated the unilateral ceasefire with the communist rebels following the killing of six soldiers allegedly in the hands of NPA members.

During his visit in the wake of the killed soldiers, Duterte said he is also scrapping the peace talks with the NDF and is now considering them as a terrorist group.

In line with this, Duterte ordered the arrest of the NDF consultants who were temporarily released to participate in the peace talks.

Meanwhile, the NDFP said Duterte should not order the arrest of the consultants since they are still bounded by a joint agreement on safety and immunity guarantees of the court.

“Of course, yung protection nila (their protection) covers under a continuing negotiations peace talks while there was an initial statement of the president the suspending the negotiations processes,” Casilao added.

Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate had also called for a press conference Monday in Manila surrounding the arrest of Arbitrario.

“The members of the government panel were already made aware of this. I hope this will be resolved soon so it will not complicate matters,” Zarate said. (SunStar Philippines)