Revolution #162, April 19, 2009
Jose Maria Sison—Cleared of All Charges
The following is from the A World to Win News Service:
April 6, 2009. A World to Win News Service. After unrelenting legal persecution on murder charges that have failed to convince the courts again and again, Dutch prosecutors have finally announced that they have dropped their case against Professor Jose Maria Sison, the founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
The Dutch Public Prosecution Service’s March 31 formal announcement of this decision due to “insufficient legal and convincing evidence” amounts to a self-exposure of the political nature of the legal campaign against Sison, just as he has always claimed.
Further, just in case anyone might doubt this political motivation, as a kind of parting shot, even after admitting that there never has been evidence that could stand up in court and no basis even for further investigation, the Dutch prosecutors repeated that because of his links to the CPP they believed Sison “would have been implicated” in the deaths of two men Sison has described as “security consultants and military assets of the Philippine reactionary government” killed by the Party-led New People’s Army. This is a blatant attempt to continue to persecute Sison in the sphere of public opinion (and in ways that have serious practical consequences as well), to punish him extra-legally after they have been forced to admit that he can’t be punished by law.
Sison, now 70, was arrested in August 2007 and kept in solitary confinement for 17 days with no visits from his doctor or family. At that time the courts turned down the prosecution request that he be kept in prison pending trial and ordered his release because, it said even then, there was not enough evidence for a trial and the charges against him had to been seen in their political context. It is noteworthy that the Philippine government itself had dropped charges against him for the killings that took place in 2003 and 2004, and yet Dutch officials chose to reconsider the case on the basis of what Sison calls “false witnesses” provided by “the Philippine political and military authorities.”
The prosecution tried and failed to get an appeals court to order his reimprisonment in October of that year. In June 2008 the appeals court ruled that there was still not enough evidence to warrant a trial. The prosecution continued its investigation. In his March 31 press release, Sison called the Dutch Public Prosecution Service’s decision to drop the charges “long overdue and much delayed.”
Sison has been living in Holland since 1988, when the Philippine government cancelled his passport while he was travelling abroad. He had been held for eight years in a Philippine prison, where he was tortured, and his life has been threatened ever since. Nevertheless, the Dutch government has refused to grant him asylum status. The Dutch government put his name on its “terrorist” list in 2002, following a similar U.S. government decision by 24 hours, and the European Union followed suit. There were no legal charges against him at that time, so again the purpose was extra-legal political punishment.
This listing has meant serious restrictions on his ability to work and travel and a denial of health care, housing and other benefits to which refugees are entitled. His bank account was also frozen.
Sison has announced that he intends to wage a political and legal battle to force Holland and the EU to “make amends for the injustices it has done to me in my asylum case, in the ‘terrorism’ listing and the false charge of murder.” He has filed a court case against the Dutch Prosecution Service “for failing to prosecute those who have attempted to assassinate me in the Netherlands.”
Similar legal action is being contemplated by the leadership and staffers of the Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), whose homes were raided at the same time Sison was arrested in 2007.
The NDFP suspended peace negotiations with the Filipino government in 2004. Sison said, “The dismissal of the case against me enables me to have more time to work for the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDFP in my capacity as NDFP chief political consultant. 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.”
A World to Win News Service is put out by A World to Win magazine (aworldtowin.org), a political and theoretical review inspired by the formation of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, the embryonic center of the world’s Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organizations.
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