Police arrest NDFP consultant Rafael Baylosis

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NDF legal consultant Rafael Baylosis. (FILE PHOTO)

Updated to include the statements of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque and NDFP.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 1) — Police on Wednesday arrested a consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the first since President Rodrigo Duterte cancelled the peace talks in November.

The Philippine National Police reported Rafael Baylosis was arrested in Aurora Blvd. corner Katipunan Avenue Quezon City  Wednesday afternoon by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

Baylosis was arrested with Guillermo Roque, an alleged New People's Army  member. The police added they also confiscated two caliber-45 pistols, with 14 ammunition and two magazines.

The NDF's legal counsel, Atty. Edre Olalia, said Baylosis is currently detained at the CIDG headquarters in Camp Crime, in Quezon City.

NDFP Executive Committee member Luis Jalandoni said Baylosis' arrest was illegal, citing their Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) with the government in 1995.

"President Duterte must be held accountable for this trampling upon a valid peace agreement that assures all consultants and those participating in peace negotiations immunity from surveillance, harassment, search, arrest, detention, prosecution and interrogation or any other similar punitive action," Jalandoni said in a statement.

Jalandoni said both Baylosis and Roque should be released. He added President Duterte must not be allowed to kill and destroy the peace negotiations.

However, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the JASIG no longer holds value in Baylosis' arrest.

"Wala namang saysay ang JASIG dahil wala nang peace talks. Kung may kaso or basehan para sa warantless arrest, kailangang arestuhin," Roque said in a press briefing Thursday.

Baylosis was granted bail in August 2016, along with other peace consultants, to attend the peace talks in Norway.

The peace talks were however cancelled, and Duterte tagged the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA) as terrorist in December. Duterte then ordered the mass arrest of consultants for the NDF.

Baylosis is facing murder raps over the 1985 Inopacan, Leyte massacre.