by Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has granted conditional pardon to 10 left-leaning prisoners ahead of the government’s resumption of the peace talks with the communist rebels.
The release papers of the 10 prisoners, mostly convicted of murder, have been transmitted by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to the office of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II
Among the conditions set for the conditional pardon were regular reporting to parole and probation officers and avoiding the commission of another crime, and other injurious or vicious habits.
The certificates of conditional pardon were signed by the President last June 28. Copies of the documents were furnished to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Interior and Local Government Acting Secretary Catalino Cuy.
The government is scheduled to resume the next round of peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) next month.
But before the resumption of the fifth round of formal talks, Labor Secretary and chief government negotiator Silvestre Bello III said the two parties agreed to conduct an informal meeting later this month to tackle proposed socio-economic reforms and interim ceasefire.
Last Thursday, the President called on the communist rebels to stop extortion activities to ensure the smooth resumption of the peace talks.
“I refuse now to resume the talks with them until they stop extortion,” he said in a media interview during a visit to a military camp in Bukidnon.
He expressed willingness to reopen the peace talks with the communists again but warned against what he called the rebels’ “double-face.” The President was pertaining to the previous attacks made by the New People’s Army (NPA), the communists’ armed wing, against military and police personnel when a unilaterally declared ceasefire was still in effect.
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