BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
The Dutch government’s Public Prosecution Service has dismissed the murder charges against Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman and current National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison for “insufficient legal and convincing evidence”.
Dutch police had arrested and briefly detained Sison on Aug. 27, 2007 for allegedly inciting the murders of former CPP leaders Romulo Kintanar and Arturo Tabara, even as the New People’s Army (NPA), the CPP’s armed component, had owned up to “punishing” the two due to their “crimes against the people”.
“I have always been confident that the case would eventually be dismissed because in the first place I am innocent of the allegation,” Sison said in a press statement. “Moreover, the Dutch courts have previously made a series of decisions to release me from detention because of insufficient evidence and the political context of the case against me. The decision of the Dutch Public Prosecution Service to drop the case is long overdue and much delayed.”
Sison said he was glad that the case against him did not prosper in the Dutch courts despite pressure from the US and Philippine governments, and despite the Dutch government’s accommodation of these.
He also criticized the Dutch Public Prosecution Service for “insinuating in its press release” that a “wall of fear” had prevented witnesses from testifying against him.
“On the contrary, the Philippine political and military authorities fabricated the false charge and provided a whole bunch of false witnesses against me,” Sison said. “The Dutch Court of Appeals no less said that it is doubtful if I can avail of my right to get my own witnesses and cross-examine the witnesses of the other side because of the political context of the case.”
Sison thanked his lawyers Michiel Pestman, lead counsel; Victor Koppe and Suus Hopman of the Bohler, Franken, Koppe & Wijngaarden law firm; Prof. Ties Prakken, consultant; Dundar Gurses of Schoolplein Advocaten; and former UN Judge Romeo T. Capulong, Rachel F. Pastores and Amylyn Sato of the Public Interest Law Center (PILC) for his successful legal defense.
Sison said he and his lawyers are considering legal action to seek full justice and demand compensation for the legal costs and material and moral damages he had incurred as a result of the cases against him.
He demanded that the Dutch Public Prosecution Service prosecute all those responsible for the assassination attempts against him from 1991 to 2001, and that the Dutch government respect his rights and have his name removed from the Council of the European Union’s “terrorist list”.
“The dismissal of the case against me enables me to have more time to work for the peace negotiations between the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) and the NDFP in my capacity as NDFP chief political consultant,” Sison said. “I am determined to work for a just and lasting peace in the Philippines on the basis of agreements on social, economic and political reforms that address the roots of the armed conflict.” (Bulatlat.com)