Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts

Vol. V, No. 33      September 25 - October 1, 2005      Quezon City, Philippines











Web Bulatlat


(We encourage readers to dialogue with us. Email us your letters complaints, corrections, clarifications, etc.)

Join Bulatlat's mailing list



(Email us your letters statements, press releases,  manifestos, etc.)



For turning the screws on hot issues, Bulatlat has been awarded the Golden Tornillo Award.

Iskandalo Cafe


Copyright 2004 Bulatlat



Retired General, Wife Held by U.S. Immigration
Will ask foreign affairs department to file diplomatic protest

Several cases of Filipinos being harassed allegedly by U.S. immigration personnel have been documented. It turns out even a long stint as a former military official and a current job as consultant for a subsidiary of a government-owned and controlled corporation, are not guarantees enough for protection against such high-handed treatment.


A retired Army brigadier-general and his wife said they were harassed by U.S. immigration personnel upon their arrival at the airport in Dallas, Texas last Tuesday.

ENRAGED: Retired Brig. Gen. Raymundo Jarque (center) lashes out at the "dirty Americans" as son Raymundo Jr. (left) and wife Zenia (right) look on during their press conference in Makati City, Sept. 23.

Photo by Alexander Martin Remollino

Brig. Gen Raymundo Jarque (ret.) and his wife, Zenia, went to the U.S. to visit their daughter Melissa, a resident of Dallas, and to seek treatment for the wife who was in need of a medical transplant, the couple told a news conference in Makati City Friday. They were detained overnight at the Dallas city jail before being deported, they said. They arrived back in Manila late Friday morning.

Their son Raymundo Jr., who also spoke at the news conference, told his sister not to worry when informed that their parents were being held for questioning. “Worst case,” he recalled having told his sister, “my father will be sent back home but there should be no issue with my mother.”

The elder Jarque left the military service in 1995 in protest against what he described in media interviews as trumped-up corruption charges against him filed by some of his fellow officers. That same year he shocked the nation by defecting to the communist-led New People’s Army (NPA). Two years later, he surfaced as a consultant in the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Jarque now works as a consultant for a subsidiary of the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC).

The CPP-NPA is included in the U.S. Department of State’s list of “foreign terrorist organizations (FTO).” The NDFP, however, is not included in the list.

“Shocked and confused”

“We were shocked and confused and scared and angry upon learning that both of them including my sickly mother were sent to a city jail, in separate cells, with other common criminals,” the younger Jarque continued. “When my father protested and just requested to talk to my mom first before they were separated, the jail guards refused and literally pushed my father to the other cell like a common criminal.”

“They were not allowed to receive calls,” the younger Jarque added. “They were only allowed to make a call or two at a maximum of a few minutes each. My sister prepared Filipino food since they were only served a single cupcake for breakfast. It was not permitted to be brought in.”

The elder Jarque added that they were not even allowed to change their clothes, and were deprived of sleep as they were subjected to hours of interrogation.

Newspaper reports on Sept. 24 quoted Matthew Lussenhop, spokesperson of the U.S. Embassy in Manila, as denying the couple was arrested. He refused to give more details, however, invoking privacy rules.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, who indicated the U.S. government has its own immigration laws, admitted having known Jarque. “I know he is no terrorist,” Ermita said in a radio interview, “but we could not criticize the Americans on the basis they used in deporting him because they have their own information.”

According to the elder Jarque, his daughter had told him and his wife that an immigration officer in Dallas had informed them that they had received an order dated Sept. 6 to declare as inadmissible to the U.S. all persons linked to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the NPA – including their spouses and children.

“Why include spouses and children?” the younger Jarque asked. “(Like) my mother, I do not have any affiliation with the CPP-NPA. So if I go to the U.S., they will also arrest me because I am a son of General Jarque? Let us assume, for argument’s sake, that my father did commit a crime. Why should I be penalized for that?”

“This Sept. 6 memo of the U.S. government has far-reaching implications,” the younger Jarque added. “For what does this mean – is the U.S. government now saying that any spouse, son or daughter should be held equally accountable for their spouse or father’s activities? Will the U.S. forces in Iraq now be shooting and killing spouses and children just because their father is a suspected terrorist?”

That was not their first visit to the U.S., the elder Jarque told Bulatlat in a subsequent interview. Holding a 10-year multiple-entry visa issued in 1999, the retired brigadier-general first went to the U.S. in September 2004, a good seven years after he surfaced as a consultant in the GRP-NDFP peace talks; he was not harassed then, he said.

“Directions from somewhere”

Asked for his thoughts on why it was only now that he and his wife were harassed upon arriving at the U.S., he surmised that it “has directions issued from somewhere.”

“The hot topic of the day in the U.S. is terrorism,” he said. “I am a former consultant of the NDFP, and they associate that with the CPP-NPA. So someone must have given directions from somewhere, and these were followed with the assistance of their assets here, because they now have Homeland Security personnel at the U.S. Embassy whose line of work deals with international ‘terrorism.’”

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had presided at the summit of the United Nations (UN) Security Council a few weeks before. Among the topics discussed in the summit was the enactment of anti-“terrorist” legislation in member-countries as part of the U.S.-led global war on “terror.”

A few days prior to the UN Security Council Summit, both the U.S. Department of State and the British Embassy in the Philippines had issued statements urging the Philippine government to expedite the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Bill now pending in Congress. Various groups, including the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), have assailed the Anti-Terrorism Bill for containing provisions that are said to include even the exercise of basic civil liberties in its definition of “terroristic” activities.

“Perhaps we were made samples of what is coming forth,” the elder Jarque said. “Because the U.S. is becoming more and more paranoid about international ‘terrorism.’ So they are starting to hunt down suspected ‘terrorists’ including their spouses and children. That must be a signal to militant groups.”


In a statement e-mailed to the media from Utrecht, The Netherlands, NDFP chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni condemned what he described as the “inhuman treatment” that the Jarque couple received in the hands of U.S. immigration officials.

“The U.S. is reprehensible for using its so-called war on terrorism to unjustly and without any basis brand the Communist Party, the New People’s Army and Prof. Jose Maria Sison, the NDFP Chief Political Consultant as ‘terrorists’ and proceed to stigmatize, humiliate and abuse other NDFP consultants like (Brigadier-General) Jarque, including his wife, and thus violate their human dignity and rights,” he said.

“The U.S. keeps on sending out the message to the whole world that it is against the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations and is hell-bent on upsetting these negotiations by threatening and attacking persons involved in these,” Jalandoni added.

Sen. Rodolfo Biazon, a former Armed Forces chief of staff and a classmate of the elder Jarque at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), had previously also condemned the U.S. harassment of the Jarque couple upon learning of the incident through former classmates. “Why in the first place did they issue him a visa only to deport him when he gets there?” the senator said Thursday in a televised interview.

The elder Jarque said he and his wife plan to ask the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to file a diplomatic protest.

Aside from the Jarque couple, other high-ranking government officials have also experienced and protested U.S. immigration officials’ alleged shabby treatment. Among them were Senate President Franklin Drilon, Sens. Juan Ponce Enrile and Loi Ejercito-Estrada and economist Winnie Mosod.

The inclusion of the CPP-NPA and NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison in the FTO list of the U.S. state department has been one of the contentious issues in government peace talks with the NDFP. Bulatlat




© 2005 Bulatlat  Alipato Publications

Permission is granted to reprint or redistribute this article, provided its author/s and Bulatlat are properly credited and notified.