President Rodrigo Duterte
President of the Philippines
Dear Mr. President,
Re: Call for the release of Bishop Carlo Morales and NDFP Consultant Rommel Salinas
The International Coalition on Human Rights in the Philippines – Canada condemns in the strongest terms the arrest and detention of Bishop Carlo Morales and National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace consultant, Rommel Salinas.
We call on the President to order their immediate release and the withdrawal of the trumped-up charges against them.
Faithful to the tradition of the prophetic ministry of Iglesia Filipina Independiente, Bishop Morales has been a committed advocate for justice and peace. He has been involved in the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP), taking an active role in supporting the peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and in encouraging the people to engage in the process. We believe that the arrest and detention of Bishop Morales are part of the escalating campaign by state security forces to intimidate and harass progressive organizations and mass leaders, that include the killings of indigenous and peasant leaders. We believe that such campaign of terror is designed to obstruct the peace talks between the GRP and the NDF.
As a strong advocate for the peace talks between the GRP and the NDFP, ICHRP-Canada is gravely concerned that the arrest and detention of NDFP consultant, Rommel Salinas, pose further obstacles to successful negotiations between the two parties. Salinas is the fourth NDFP consultant arrested after the February 3 declaration of all-out war by the AFP. The Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) previously signed by both parties and remains in force explicitly states that consultants to the peace process should be immune from illegal arrest and detention.
Mr. President, we urge you to continue pursuing the peace talks vigorously for just and lasting peace in the Philippines and to remove all obstacles to its success.
We urge you to release Bishop Carlo Morales and NDFP consultant, Rommel Salinas and to order an immediate end to the systematic campaign of intimidation and harassment against NDFP consultants and leaders of progressive organizations.
We call on your Government and members of the security forces to honor the GRP’s commitments under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and the Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) which were reaffirmed in the first round of formal Peace Talks in Oslo last August 2016.
We trust in your commitment to peace with justice and look forward to your action on these matters.
International Coalition on Human Rights in the Philippines – Canada