THE National Democratic Front (NDF) Southern Mindanao urged the National Government Tuesday, February 7, to free the NDF consultant and his companion who were earlier arrested at a checkpoint in Sirawan village, Toril, Davao City.

NDF consultant Ariel Mancao Arbitrario, alias Marlon, and Roderick Mamuyac were onboard a Colorado LT driven by Rosario Sinday Jr. when they were arrested by authorities for their pending charges in court.

Charged with murder and attempted murder is Arbitrario, who is also a secretary of the New People's Army (NPA) Guerilla Front 2 operating in Compostela Valley province, while Mamuyac is charged with murder.

Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) Southern Mindanao chairman Rodney Baslot, in an interview, also echoed the same call to the National Government for Mamuyac, who is the KMU organizer since 2010 and a former organizer for the Urban Poor.

“Mamuyac was never part of the NDF neither in the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and NPA,” Baslot said, adding that KMU Southern Mindanao condemned the illegal arrest of its member.

NDF-Southern Mindanao spokesperson Rubi del Mundo, in a statement, said the NDF condemns the illegal arrest and detention of the two personalities at the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Davao.

Del Mundo said being a consultant in the peace negotiations between the communist and the government, Arbitrario is covered by the Joint Agreement for Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig), which was adhered to by both panels.

“Even under the reactionary government's judicial laws, Arbitrario's arrest and detention is patently illegal. The NDFP is still awaiting the formal notice from the government for the termination of the negotiations. The reactionary armed forces do not have the authority to carry out the arrest of any of the NDF consultants,” del Mundo said.

He added the Armed Forces of the Philippines were also quick to deodorize their militaristic action, disregarding the fact that all staffs of consultants are also covered by the Jasig.

The Army's 10th Infantry Division claimed Mamuyac has a standing arrest warrant for murder, a convenient go-to excuse to justify the arrest of Arbitrario and his staff, del Mundo said.

Del Mundo said Arbitrario, along with other two consultants from Southern Mindanao, Porferio Tuna Jr. and Eduardo Genelsa, and their respective staff has been subjected to steady surveillance and monitoring by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for months.

He said the recent arrest, besides the AFP troops' relentless marauding of NDF territories to engage NPA units around the country, only manifests its predisposition to jump the gun in sabotaging the peace process.

Del Mundo added in allowing the continued detention of Arbitrario, the government did not only drop any hope for the negotiations to move forward, but also heaped contempt on previous successes made in the peace process.

“We demand the immediate release of Arbitrario and his staff, and for the (President Rodrigo) Duterte government, especially its armed forces to respect and uphold the Jasig and other previously signed agreements,” del Mundo said.

He said the lifting of the NPA's unilateral ceasefire does not mean that the revolutionary forces are closing their doors on the prospect of just and lasting peace.

Del Mundo said they are more interested in pursuing a political resolution to the roots of the armed conflict based on the agreed framework of the negotiations considering that the talks have tackled socio-economic reforms.