By D. L. MONDELO
AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands – The recent Wikileaks expose’ of a 2007 cable from the US embassy in Manila (which was published in Manila newspapers) revealing the collaboration between the Dutch, Philippines and US governments to file false murder charges against Filipino political exile Prof. Jose Ma. Sison is merely a confirmation of a conspiracy to persecute, harass and demonize him (Sison).
Thus, stated Committee DEFEND in reaction to a published news report about an unclassified US embassy memo dated Sept. 4, 2007 sent to the US State Department by then US Ambassador to the Philippines Kirstie Kenney.
According to the cable, released by online whistle-blower Wikileaks, the Philippine government through its Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, worked with Dutch and US authorities to build a case against Prof. Sison, who is a political refugee in the Netherlands and is chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in peace talks with the Manila government.
Quoting Ambassador Kenney, the cable stated: “(Romulo) said he and Cabinet colleagues had been working with the Dutch for several years to make sure the case they built was good. They were delighted to finally have Sison behind bars. Romulo said that given the US interest in prosecuting terrorists, he hoped we’d be prepared to assist the Dutch with the case, if the Dutch so requested.”
“Like the three evil witches conspiring in Macbeth, the US, Dutch and Philippine governments continue to pull tricks on Professor Sison to harass and demonize him, and ultimately put a leash on him from speaking his mind against the plunderous and repressive character of imperialism and for the cause of national and social liberation in the Philippines,” stressed Ruth de Leon of Committee DEFEND in an interview with Bulatlat.
Committee DEFEND was at the forefront of the global campaign that called for freedom for Professor Sison when he was arrested and imprisoned on politically-motivated charges. It mobilized an international network that staged regular mass actions in front of Dutch embassies in major cities around the world that condemned the arrest and called for freedom for Sison.
On Aug. 28, 2007, the Dutch police arrested Professor Sison based on charges filed by the Philippine government linking him with the murders of Romulo Kintanar and Arturo Tabara. They also raided the international information office of the NDF in Utrecht, and several houses of the NDF peace panel members and staff. The Dutch police carted away laptops, computers, documents and other files including the file-archives of the peace negotiations.
According to Committee DEFEND, false testimonies from paid Filipino witnesses were manufactured in the premises of the Dutch and US embassies in Manila to pin down Sison. However, two weeks after his arrest, a Dutch court threw away the testimonies it described as hearsay, and set Sison free for lack of evidence on the charges filed against him.
Committee DEFEND and the NDFP peace panel then accused the Dutch police of staging a “fishing expedition” in connection with the raid of several other residences apart from Sison’s. The information the Dutch police was able to gather from the raid, they said, had nothing to do with the alleged murder charges.
This prompted Luis Jalandoni, chairperson of the NDFP peace panel, days after the raids, to issue a statement warning the Dutch government not to use the information it netted from the raid against persons connected with the revolutionary movement in the Philippines. Jalandoni said the Dutch government would bear full responsibility if the information it gathered would be used to attack the revolutionary movement in the Philippines.
Since 2007 after the arrest of Sison and the raid on the houses of NDFP staff in the Netherlands by the Dutch police, scores of activists and NDFP consultants have been added to the already long list of victims of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and illegal arrests perpetrated by the Philippine army and police.