MANILA -- Despite President Rodrigo R. Duterte giving green light for the homecoming of National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili , a group on Wednesday insisted that the government should hold the leftist lawyer accountable for his alleged "part" in criminal acts of communist rebels in the country.
"Si Agcaoli ang direktang may hawak ng NUPL (National Union of Peoples' Lawyers) at tumatayong legal ng CTG (Communist Terrorist Group). Sa kanya inilalapit ang mga mahiwagang pagkawa ng ilang kasapi ng mga rebelde pero sa hindi malamang dahilan ay nauuwi lang sa kalimot" (Since Agcaoili handles the legal affairs of the CTG and he has the NUPL directly under his command, he used it as the shield of the Party against complaints of human rights abuses, legal complaints filed in courts so that top level officials of the CTG could be spared of)," said Mario Laude, spokesperson of the “No to Communist Terrorist Group Coalition”, in a statement.
"Kahit na iniutos ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte na hayaang makabalik sa bansa si NDFP chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili para sa peace talks sa gobyerno, hindi pa rin ito anya sapat para 'di siya managot sa kanyang pagiging bahagi ng mga gawaing kriminal ng mga rebelde (Even if President Rodrigo Duterte ordered to let him return to the country for the peace talks with the government, this is not enough for him to escape his accountabilities from being part in criminal acts done by rebels),” he added.
Last week, Duterte said he was open to allowing Agcaoili to come home and told the military and the police to "just allow him."
At the same time, he hinted about the possible resumption of peace talks between the government and the communist rebels following its suspension in 2017.
In November 2018, Agcaoili was supposed to return to the Philippines together with other members of the NDFP, the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Due to fear that they will be arrested once they set foot in the country, the trip did not proceed.
Earlier, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said there was nothing to fear because it was already assured that they will not be arrested.
Although the resumption of peace talks is still uncertain, Panelo said the rebels "should grab at it". (PNA)