Sison's Wife Recounts Raid
Written by Julieta de Lima
Thursday, 06 September 2007 (from www.zumel.com)
I am Julieta de Lima and Prof. Jose Maria Sison is my husband.
Together we reside at Rooseveltlaan 778 in Utrecht.
In the morning of 28 August at around 8:45, my husband left
for a 9:30 appointment at the Overvecht police station. A
person who identified himself as Mr. Vogel had arranged the
appointment through a telephone call to my husband on Friday,
24 August. The caller said he was seeking an appointment because
of new developments on a case which my husband lodged with the
police in 2001.
As soon as my husband left for the appointment, I took my
coffee while checking my email and after some 30 minutes, I
decided to do a quick cleaning up and tidying of the apartment,
starting with the bathroom. As I started to scrub the bathroom
floor tiles, I heard strong pounding sound from the direction
of the front door. I stood up and moved from the bathroom
through the kitchen but before I could reach the corridor to
the front door two or more men blocked my way and I saw several
other men, some with pistols drawn, rushing into all the rooms
in the apartment. At the top of my voice I asked who they were
and what they were doing.
As I moved towards the living room, a man whom I presume to be
the team leader said they were the police and they were to conduct
a search. I demanded to be presented with a search warrant specifying
what they were after or else they should leave. But they could not
show any warrant. Two or three from among the team told me that
in the Netherlands a search warrant was not required and that a
search without a warrant was legal. They said the judge would come.
I then demanded to call my lawyer, Mr Bernard Tomlow, but they
refused and said that the judge who was coming would decide whether
or not I could call my lawyer. They forced me to sit down and when
I stood up to try to get to a phone, I was manhandled and forced
down on a chair. So, for a while I kept calling out at the top of
my voice, “Help! I want my lawyer!” I took quite some time before
the judge could come. When he arrived, I asked for his credentials
and he showed me his identification card, which had the name L.K.
v. Zaltbommel. I told him that I wanted the presence of my lawyer.
He said no, this was not allowed. I again asked him for a search
warrant that specify what were to be searched but his answer again
was that it was legal in the Netherlands to conduct a search without
a search warrant. And since I presumed that he came in lieu of a
search warrant, I asked him to specify what items the search team
were after. He repeatedly said that they were looking for materials
linked to murders in the Philippines.
The judge came and stayed for about 30 minutes to lend legality to
the break-in, the raid, the search and the carting away of several
boxes of documents, personal computers, other digital equipment
(including a videocamera and two digital photo cameras) and various
kinds of digital media (external hard disks, usb flash disks,
diskettes, cds, dvds, video & audio tapes, etc.)
The search started as soon as the “judge” came and lasted the whole
working day. A team of about 5 persons concentrated on examining
and copying the hard disks of the computers. Several other teams
simultaneously searched various parts of the living room, our study
room and all the other rooms, including the storeroom downstairs
and the storage cabinet in the balcony. One team brought in the
materials to be taken away and put these into boxes. Another team
had a computer to make some kind of listing, print out labels and
label the boxes into which the materials were put. But I saw no
itemization of all the materials that were being put into the boxes.
At one point after the “judge” had left, a member of the team read
out one by one a series of questions from a few pages of paper.
Apart from those about my name, address, date & place of birth,
I refused to answer and instead demanded to have a lawyer. The
questions were probably in Dutch but were read out in English
translation and my nonanswers or refusal to answer were noted
down in Dutch translation. I was asked but I refused to sign
the paper containing the questions read out and what I said in
I asked for a detailed itemized listing of all the materials to
be carted away but the team leader, one who introduced himself
as as Mr. Bosboom from the Driebergen office of the National
Police said that either I or my lawyer would be given the list.
He gave me his calling card, which I gave to Michiel Pestman
when we met at the Schoolplein Advocaten office in the evening
after the search. As of today (Tuesday) the police has given
neither my lawyer nor me any listing of the materials that
the search team had carted away from my household.
It will take me a lot more time to go through all the parts
of my household that were searched and make an inventory of
the materials taken away by the search team and analyze how
the materials are related to the so-called criminal case that
is being brought against my husband. The “judge” did not tell
me what items specifically the search team were after. Neither
did anyone among the search team.
I can only say in a general way that voluminous documents,
consisting of various kinds of communcations in hard copies
and various kinds of digital media (computer hard disks, diskettes,
cds, dvds, etc), could be misused to endanger the lives and safety
of so many people in the Philippines with whom my husband is in
touch, given the state of lawlessness among the state authorities,
especially the executive branch that include the military and its
intelligence services, and the general state of the politicization
of judicial systems all over the world and especially in the United
States under the rubric of Bush's “war on terror”.###