DAVAO CITY – The last National Democratic Front of the Philippines consultant was released Friday afternoon, August 19, the third from Mindanao to join the peace talks with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.
Porterio Tuna, Jr., who was arrested last October 21, 2015 and detained at the Davao del Norte provincial jail, was released on bail with a motion to join the peace negotiation with the government this coming August 22 in Oslo, Norway.
“We’re hopeful that the peace talk will have positive results,” Tuna said.
Tuna said that he still does not know what will happen after six months, if he will be back to detention or not.
During campaign period, Duterte said that he will have peace talks with the NDF, and moro groups, within 3-6 months.
“The court said that he will go back to jail as he will still face 11 cases in Davao City, Compostela Valley, and Davao del Norte,” Tuna said.
“My lawyer will report to the court where my cases are filed if there are changes happening up until the peace negotiations,” he said.
If the peace talks will not be finished within the six-months planned period by the government, Tuna’s freedom will “possibly extend,” he said.
“Maybe my lawyer will go to the court if by that time I cannot still be in the country,” he added.
“But it would be better to be released with amnesty being protected,” Tuna said citing his immunity being Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantee (Jasig) holder.
Tuna also said that “it would be best that amnesty will be received by all political prisoners, not just the consultants.”
Peace advocate and Bayan Muna representative Carlo Zarate, who facilitated the release of Tuna, said that it took them weeks to process Tuna’s release.
“[This is] the result of the initial talk of GRP and NDF last June 14 in Oslo, Norway,” said Zarate.
Zarate together with human rights group, Karapatan, Union of People’s Lawyers in Mindanao, National Union of People’s Lawyers, facilitated the release of Tuna.
Tuna is the last NDF consultant to join the peace talks between NDF and GRP on August 22. Initially 22 JASIG holders from NDF consultants were requested but the remaining three who are convicted in National Bilibid Prison will be “in different mode of release,” said Zarate.
“Because they [the other three] are convicted, and the peace talks will not be finished, probably pardon because convicted,” he said.
Both Zarate and Tuna commended the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte on the release of the 19 peace consultants from NDF saying it was “sincerity” from the end of the government.
“As observer, we can see that it only happened now that many are released immediately,” Zarate said.
Tuna, on the hand, said that his release is an expression of “genuine interest of Duterte” on the peace talks.
“I was glad that the 19 consultants were already released,” Tuna said. (davaotoday.com)