MISAMIS Oriental Governor Yevgeny Emano on Tuesday, February 7, said a military official asked him the whereabouts of Alfredo Mapano alias "Ka Paris," a peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
Emano said Lieutenant Colonel Francis Carandang, commanding officer of the 58th Infantry Battalion, called him over the phone Tuesday morning, February 7, and asked whether the governor was "hiding" Mapano or whether he knows the latter's whereabouts.
"Wala ko nag-expect nga si Colonel Carandang motawag ug nangutana kung ako bang gitagoan si Mapano or kabalo bako aha kini karon (I didn't expect Colonel Carandang to call me up and ask me if I'm hiding Mapano or know where he is right now). If I knew I will tell them," Emano said.
Emano added that he will contact the military and ask them to talk to him for arrangements as long as it will help the government.
He said he has no idea where Mapano is but said he is willing to facilitate if Mapano, who is out on bail, decides to voluntarily go back to jail as suggested by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Emano said the military may have been doing routine checks on local government officials known to have contacts with the rebels.
The governor said the military may be suspecting him because of his active advocacy for the peace process and added he has limited engagement in the ceasefire agreement.
In a TV interview, Mapano said he was saddened about Duterte's latest pronouncements in terminating the ceasefire and ending the peace talks.
"Nasubo kita nga nakasulti siya tungod tingali sa iyang kasuko. Naa man hinoon ko mga amigo nga nagtabang nga dili ko maunsa or madaot (I was sad because the president might have said it out of anger. I have friends who are keeping me out of danger)," Mapano said.
Mapano was a political detainee of Misamis Oriental Provincial Jail (MOPJ) since 2009 and was freed last August 17, 2016 by posting P100,000 bail to join the rounds of peace talks as NDF peace negotiator.
He is facing multiple counts of criminal charges including murder, frustrated murder, and robbery.
Following the collapse of the peace talks, Duterte ordered the arrest of the NDF peace consultants.
But lawyer Beverly Musni, vice chairperson of the Union of Peoples' Lawyers in Mindanao, said Mapano and other consultants are covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig) which assured their security from any threats of harassment and arrest.
"Under these circumstances, I maintain the view nga dili angayan arestohon si Mapano ug ubang NDF consultants kay sila giisip nga consultants busa nakatampo man gani sa mga sessions sa Netherlands ug Rome, Italy. Sila nagpabiling protektado sa garantiya sa Jasig batok sa hulga sa ilang seguridad ug pagkapriso (that Mapano and other NDF consultants should not be arrested because they are regarded as consultants and can contribute in the sessions in Netherlands and Rome, Italy. They are protected by the guarantee of the Jasig against the threats of arrest)" Musni said.
Musni, who is also a peace advocate, urged the peace panels of the government and the NDFP to go back to the negotiating table.