Even as he is still elated over his latest victory in the Dutch courts, NDFP chief political consultant and ILPS chairman Jose Maria Sison is calling on all supporters of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations to protest what he described as the “unjust actions” by the U.S., Philippine and Dutch governments.
BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
Vol. VII, No. 35, October 7-13, 2007
Even as he is still elated over his latest victory in the Dutch courts, National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief political consultant and International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) chairman Jose Maria Sison is calling on all supporters of the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDFP to protest what he described as the “unjust actions” by the U.S., Philippine and Dutch governments.
“The unjust actions already taken against me and the panelists, other consultants and staffers of the NDFP negotiating panel are meant by the U.S., Philippine and Dutch governments to put the NDFP Negotiating Panel under duress for the purpose of pressuring it or scuttling the entire peace negotiations,” Sison said in an e-mail interview with Bulatlat over the weekend. “The advocates of a just peace must take a stand and denounce the unjust actions and the malicious calculations behind these.”
Sison was referring to his arrest in Utrecht, the Netherlands on Aug. 28 for allegedly ordering the murders of former Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) leaders Romulo Kintanar and Arturo Tabara in the Philippines in 2003 and 2004, respectively, and the raids on the NDFP International Office and the houses of several NDFP consultants and staff.
Sison had reported to the Utrecht police station on Aug. 28 after receiving an invitation supposedly regarding new information on a complaint he filed way back in 2001. He was asked to go to a room where he was supposedly going to be asked a few questions.
But he was whisked away without the knowledge of the lawyer who was accompanying him at that time, and was subsequently hauled off to the Dutch National Penitentiary in Scheveningen, Den Haag where he was left to languish in solitary confinement for 17 days.
On the same day that Sison was arrested, the NDFP International Office was raided and its computers were taken. Dutch police also raided the homes of several NDFP consultants.
Sison was released last month from detention after the Rechtbank of Den Haag ruled, citing lack of evidence against him in the case on the Kintanar-Tabara deaths, that there was no cause to keep him further in pre-trial detention.
The Dutch Prosecutor’s Office promptly filed a petition before the Dutch Court of Appeals to have Sison placed back in pre-trial detention. On Oct. 3, the Dutch Court of Appeals threw out the appeal.
“The wording of the Decision is very interesting, even better than the Rechtbank’s,” said Michiel Pestman, Sison’s lawyer, in an e-mail message received by Bulatlat.
In its decision, a copy of which was also received by Bulatlat, the Dutch Court of Appeals stated that there is no direct evidence linking Sison to Kintanar and Tabara’s killings. It also questioned the reliability of the witnesses’ statements against Sison, stating that their declarations “contain a high degree of indefiniteness in time.”
The Dutch Court of Appeals likewise described the witnesses’ statements against Sison as “perhaps” having a “political context.” It stated that these declarations “cannot just simply be taken as reliable” considering the present “political constellation” in the Philippines.
“On top of that the Court expresses its doubt about Sison’s ability to fully exercise his right to cross-examine the Prosecution witnesses, which is an implicit reference to the human rights situation in the Philippines and the dangers faced there by Sison’s defense lawyers,” Pestman said.