PROLONGED INVESTIGATION OF SISON CASE IS AN ATTACK ON NDFP AND PEACE PROCESS
By Luis Jalandoni
Chairperson, Negotiating Panel
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Press Statement, January 21, 2008 -- The Dutch prosecutor Ms. J. S. de Vries claims that the examining judge Ms. C. M. Derijks has done something grievously wrong by declaring the “untimely closure of the preliminary investigation” of the false and politically motivated charge of inciting the murder of the military agents Romulo Kintanar and Arturo Tabara against Prof. Jose Maria Sison, NDFP Chief Political Consultant.
The claim of the prosecutor cannot be farther from the truth. The examining judge based her 21 November 2007 decision to close the preliminary investigation on the 13 September decision of the District Court of The Hague pointing to the insufficiency of evidence against Prof. Sison and the 3 October 2007 decision of the Court of Appeals upholding the decision of the district court on the lack of prima facie evidence and ruling further that the charge has a political context casting doubt on the reliability of the witnesses and the ability of Prof. Sison and his lawyers to cross-examine the witnesses under current circumstances of gross human rights violations in the Philippines.
The examining judge gave ample and repeated opportunity to prosecutor De Vries to give substantive reasons to counter the two aforementioned court decisions. But the prosecutor failed to do so. The two court decisions and the failure of the prosecutor to provide substantive reasons constituted the valid ground for the examining judge to close the preliminary investigation. It is a big lie for the prosecutor to premise the continuance of the preliminary investigation with the claim of wrongdoing by the examining judge. It is also anomalous that the prosecutor stands publicly in judgment over the examining judge.
The prosecutor is hell-bent on using the prosecution process to oppress and run down Prof. Jose Maria Sison. She threatens to make the life of Prof. Sison miserable not only with the patently false charge of inciting the murder of Kintanar and Tabara but also with the possible expansion of criminal charges under various laws against him and others.
But the prosecutor is apparently playing a role or doing a dirty political job assigned by powerful forces, like the Dutch and other governments, to persecute and destroy Prof. Sison as well as the representation of the NDFP abroad, particularly the NDFP Negotiating Panel of which I am the chairperson. Moral and material damages continue to be inflicted directly on Prof. Sison and many other persons and entities whose papers, digital files, bank accounts and other materials and equipment were seized by the police upon the arrest of Prof. Sison on 28 August 2007.
The NDFP and the Filipino people are grievously offended by the injustices done directly to Prof. Sison and other Filipinos in The Netherlands. They are outraged that something never done before to a national liberation movement like the African National Congress (ANC) and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is being done to the NDFP. The Dutch government is either wittingly or unwittingly being used by Washington and the Manila government to conjure and hype the illusion that Filipino communists are killing each other, a line of deception used by the Arroyo regime to justify the extrajudicial killings,disappearances and other human rights violations. This deceptive line has been exposed by the reports of UN Special Rapporteur Prof. Philip Alston, Amnesty International, the World Council of Churches, Human Rights Watch and other respected institutions.
The false and politically motivated charge of inciting the murder of Kintanar and Tabara may just be a stepping stone to the charge of war crimes or crimes against humanity or crimes of terrorism. The malicious political intent of the US, Dutch and Manila governments may be to stigmatize and destroy Prof. Sison and the NDFP Negotiating Panel and pressure the NDFP to capitulate to the Manila government. But the scheme of these powerful forces may only lead to the complete destruction of the peace negotiations between the NDFP and the Manila government and the intensification of the civil war in the Philippines.
There are indications that the Dutch prosecutor intends to expand the charge of inciting murder to a charge of war crimes in order to get away from the rigorous rule of evidence of direct and personal responsibility in a case of murder to the rule of command responsibility. If this shift were to be done, the Dutch prosecutor will be practically recognizing the existence of a civil war in the Philippines and accusing Prof. Sison of being a leader of a belligerent force under international law.
But it is utterly ridiculous for the Dutch prosecution to be accusing Prof. Sison of command responsibility for war crimes under international law. He came straight from nearly a decade of fascist imprisonment in 1986, freed from the charge of rebellion and subversion Since then, he has been abroad for more than 20 years, always hounded by false charges invented by the Manila government but never convicted in any court. It would be a stark case of paradox if Gloria M. Arroyo remains scot-free, despite the gross and systematic violations of human rights in the Philippines, and Prof. Sison is imprisoned in The Netherlands.
Under the auspices of the US-directed policies of neoliberal globalization and war of terror, the US and pro-US governments are capable of doing anything to slander, harm or destroy any individual, organization or movement that fights for national liberation and democracy. The Filipino people and the people of the world must be vigilant, resolute and militant against the cumulative attacks being unleashed by the imperialists and their puppets against Prof. Jose Maria Sison, the NDFP Negotiating Panel and the NDFP.