NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison criticized what he described as the “concerted hostile reactions” of the Dutch and Arroyo governments to the July 11 verdict of the European Court of First Instance (ECFI) in Luxembourg annulling the May 29 decision of the Council of the European Union to retain him in its “terrorist” blacklist.
BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Vol. VII, No. 23, July 15-21, 2007
Jose Maria Sison, chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in its peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP), criticized what he described as the “concerted hostile reactions” of the Dutch and Arroyo governments to the July 11 verdict of the European Court of First Instance (ECFI) in Luxembourg annulling the May 29 decision of the Council of the European Union to retain him in its “terrorist” blacklist.
In its verdict, the ECFI stated that the Council of the European Union’s May 29 decision failed to provide valid reasons for his being listed as a “terrorist.” The ECFI also stated that the Council’s decision violated Sison’s rights of defense and deprived him of judicial protection. The “terrorist” tag on Sison was also a threat to the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, the ECFI also stated.
The ECFI also ordered the Council of the European Union to shoulder Sison’s legal fees for the past five years.
The Dutch Embassy in Manila said in a one-page statement on July 13 that the ECFI verdict covered only the May 29 decision of the Council of the European Union and not its recent one.
“The judgment of July 11 of the ECFI bears upon an old decision which had already been withdrawn by the council,” the Dutch Embassy statement read. “The judgment does not concern the latest review process of the EU terrorism list by the council, which culminated in a new list adopted on June 29, 2007.
“This new decision, covering all persons and organizations on the EU terrorism list, includes Mr. Sison, the CPP, and the NPA (New People’s Army) on the list and maintains the freeze on their assets,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, Malacañang spokespersons have said that the ECFI decision has no bearing on Sison’s status.
But Sison said the ECFI judgment, by implication, also covers the June 29 decision of the Council of the European Union which is referred to in the Dutch Embassy’s statement.
“The facts of the case covered by the ECFI judgment are mainly within the period from the Council’s first decision to include me in the blacklist on 28 October 2002 to the final public hearing on my case before the ECFI on 30 May 2006,” Sison said in a July 14 statement sent to media. “This period covered the 29 May 2006 decision of the Council. Nevertheless, the issues resolved by the judgment are also involved in the 28 June 2007 decision of the Council of the EU. Therefore, the judgment has a direct bearing and effect on the aforesaid decision of the Council.”
Sison is known as the founding chairman of the CPP. In 1968 he led a group that broke away from the leadership of the Lava brothers in the old Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP) and re-established the CPP.
Under Sison’s leadership, the CPP rapidly gained strength and together with the NPA, its armed component, it developed into one of the strongest organized forces opposed to the U.S.-Marcos regime during the martial law years.
He was the CPP’s highest-ranking leader from its reestablishment until he was arrested by the Marcos dictatorship in 1977.
Released in 1986 by virtue of then President Corazon Aquino’s general amnesty proclamation for political prisoners, Sison got involved in a number of legal political activities and even delivered a series of lectures at his alma mater, the University of the Philippines (UP).
In 1988, he found himself having to apply for political asylum after the Aquino government cancelled his passport while he was in Europe on a speaking tour. He has since lived in the Netherlands as an asylum seeker.
In 2002, the CPP-NPA was included by the U.S. Department of State in its list of “foreign terrorist organizations.” Sison was likewise listed as a “foreign terrorist.” The Council of the European Union followed suit later that year.
On May 29, the Council of the European Union decided to retain Sison in its “terrorist” list. This decision was annulled by the July 11 verdict of the ECFI. He expects, however, that the Council will contest the July 11 ECFI verdict.
“While the legal struggle goes on, I continue to be persecuted by being blacklisted and stigmatized by the Council as a ‘terrorist’ and by being subjected to the violation of my fundamental rights and freedoms, to ‘civil death’ (deprivation of economic means) similar to that in the ancient regime in France and to public incitement of hatred and violence against my person,” Sison said in his statement. “However, I have already gained advantage by having won my case on 11 July 2007.”
“I call on all the people, parties, organizations and movements that have supported me in my legal and political struggle to defend my fundamental rights and freedom and to remain firm, vigilant and militant against the forces of imperialist plunder, fascism and aggression,” Sison also said. “These evil forces never get tired of exploiting and oppressing the people. They are always driven by their greed and blood thirst to suppress those who fight for the national liberation of the oppressed peoples, democracy and social justice for the working people, development and world peace. We must continue to struggle for a new and better world.”(Bulatlat.com)