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Bayan: Charges on Sison, politically-driven
By Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)
16 June 2006

Leftist group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said that the plan of the government to file murder charges against Jose Maria Sison is part of the ongoing vilification campaign against the Left.

Renato Reyes Jr., Bayan secretary general, said, "The attacks on Prof. Sison are part of the full-blown political persecution against Arroyo's critics. Out of desperation, defense and security officials have not stopped in trying to portray Prof. Sison as a criminal/terrorist so as to discredit the latter."

Reyes said that the Supreme Court status quo order dated June 5, 2006 may have prompted the plan of filing murder charges against Prof. Sison. The order enjoined the Department of Justice and the Philippine National Police from proceeding with the preliminary investigation on the charges of rebellion against progressive party-list representatives and 50 other leftist leaders, including Sison. "The SC decision is another blow to the executive branch of the government. Arroyo's minions think that the murder charges, albeit without legal and factual bases, will work to harass Prof. Sison."

Reyes said that past cases filed against Sison have been dropped due to sheer lack of evidence. He said that Prof. Sison had, in fact, filed a case against the Council of the European Union questioning the legality of the inclusion of his name in the "terrorist" list the Council had adopted since October 28, 2002. Sison's lawyers scored major points in the final court hearing at the European Court of First Instance in Luxembourg last May 30, 2006.

Reyes said that he Supreme Court has belied terrorist listing. In its landmark decision on May 3, 2006 in Kilusang Mayo Uno et al. versus President of the Philippines Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo et al, G. R. No. 171483 involving Presidential Proclamation 1017, the Philippine Supreme Court ruled that there are no "acts of terrorism" in the Philippine criminal justice system and struck down as unconstitutional the reference to them in General Order No. 5.

The Supreme Court explicitly declared: "Unlike the term 'lawless violence' which is unarguably extant in our statutes and the Constitution, and which is invariably associated with 'invasion, insurrection or rebellion' the phrase 'acts of terrorism' is still an amorphous and vague concept. Congress has yet to enact a law defining and punishing acts of terrorism". (at page 50)

Reyes said, "Despite this, the government goes on vilifying its critics by branding them as terrorists. We will not be surprised if defense and security officials accuse Prof. Sison of masterminding the series of bombings. The members of the Cabinet Oversight Committee on Internal Security (COC-IS) who are directing these sinister plots, have not thought of something new for its psywar."

The COC-IS is composed of National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Interior and Local Government Secretary Avelino Cruz.#

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