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Madrigal jump-starts peace talks with the communists

By Loui Galicia
ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Sen. Maria Consuelo "Jamby" Madrigal is returning to the Philippines on Monday, armed with the blessing and trust of the National Democratic Front Panel for her to begin work on the resumption of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and NDFP's peace negotiations, reported ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau.

Madrigal arrived in the Hague, Netherlands last Thursday, only to be welcomed by news that her mother, Amanda Abad Santos-Madrigal, 85 years old passed away in the Philippines.

Although she was cutting short her visit here in order to attend to her mother's wake, Madrigal didn't let her grief deter her from achieving what she came here for in the first place.

One hour after checking in at the luxurious and historic five-star Le Meridien Hotel des Indes, she immediately proceeded to a closed-door meeting with some members of the Dutch Parliament at the Eerste Kamer (First Chamber) in Binnenhof or Parliament Building.

There she briefed her Dutch counterparts on the human rights situation in the Philippines and provided them copies of her Senate Resolutions 108 and 89 regarding the resumption of peace talks and the implication of the prosecution of Jose Maria Sison on the negotiations.

For their part, according to Madrigal's assistant Atty. Gary Jimenez, the Dutch senators promised to continue to monitor the situation in the Philippines.

Jimenez told ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau that the Dutch senators also expressed belief that the prosecution of the Communist Party of the Philippines founding chair was instigated by the Philippine government and that the Philippine authorities misinformed the Dutch government regarding Sison's case.

"Well it's clear that the government had admitted that they helped the Dutch government prosecute Prof. Sison. Ibig sabiin nyan ginamit na naman ang pera ng taong bayan sa isang exercise na nakakahiya kasi nagpapatunay na wala namang ebidensya na makakapagconvict kay Prof. Sison. Kaya nakakatawa yun talaga, pera ng taong bayan ang ginagamit lang nila para itiris yung kanilang political opponent. Maraming nagsasabi, kahit yung Supreme Court sinasabi this is a political case . It is not really a legal case. It is political in nature," Madrigal said in an exclusive interview.

(It means they used citizens' money in an exercise that was shameful because it merely proved that there was no evidence to convict Prof. Sison. It was quite amusing because they used the people's money to convict a political opponent.

"Simple lang ang gusto nating ma-achieve. Peace, nung pumunta tayo dito almost two years ago, nag-usap na sana kami na ma-resume ang peace talks ng GRP at NDFP ngunit ito ay hindi na nag-reresume. Ang nangyayari eh pataas ng pataas ang extra-judicial killings. Me kinalaman itong extra-judicial killings sa non-resumption of peace talks. Everybody wants peace pero sana magpakita ng goodwill itong Arroyo government na iresume ang peace talks instead of declaring an all-out war policy," Madrigal added.

(We just wanted to achieve peace when we came here two days ago. We were talking then of restarting the peace talks between the GRP and the NDFP but this never came about because the extra-judicial killings kept escalating. And these extras-judicial killings had something to do with the non-resumption of the peace talks. Everybody wants peace but hoped that this Arroyo government would show goodwill instead of declaring an all-out war policy," Madrigal added.)

Madrigal said that she came to the Netherlands because Sison cannot go to the Philippines.

As a hard-working chair of the Senate Committee on Peace, Unification and Reconciliation she means serious business so that even if she had to leave earlier than planned, she made sure that she kept all the schedules on her agenda and attended all the meetings.

Most important was the meeting on Friday at the Nassaukerk or Nassau Church in Amsterdam where she held talks with the NDFP officials Luis Jalandoni, Fidel Agcaoili, Ruth de Leon and Sison regarding the peace process which concluded with a joint statement of the NDFP and Madrigal, signed by her, Jalandoni and Sison.

During this meeting, video-taped testimonies from NDF panelists, consultants and staffers who were raided by the Dutch police in connection with Sison's arrest on Aug. 28 were heard which she will bring to the Philippines to be used in connection with her resolution for the Senate to investigate its impact on the peace process.

"Ininterview ni Jamby ang mga tao na ni-raid ang bahay. Nainterview si Ka Joma Sison, naaresto sila. Nainterview din si Connie Ledesma at ako dahil bahay namin naraid din ng pulis at kinuha lahat ng peace files namin from 1986 till the end of 2004. Maraming folders yun, important documents of course, yung computer at iba pang mga files namin," Jalandoni explained.

(Jamby interviewed the people who raided the house. She interviewed Joma and those who arrested him. Then she interviewed Connie Ledesma and myself because our house was also raided and all the peace files since 1986 till the end of 2004 were confiscated. There were a lot of folders, important documents, in the computer and also in our files," Jalandoni explained.)

Jalandoni came late for that meeting because he had to meet the police earlier in Utrecht who were returning part of the confiscated files.

"Sinabi na isosoli na nila yung almost all na kinuha nila pero kokonti pa din. Yung mga peace files at mga notes eh nandun pa din sa kanila," Jalandoni complained.

(They said they were returning what they confiscated but they returned only a part of it. My peace files and some of my notes are still with them," Jalandoni complained.)

Sison's wife Juliet was not able to attend because she was ill.

"Napakalaki ng impact nito dahil yung persecution of Joma Sison at pagthreaten and intimidate ng NDF negotiation panel ay malaking blow, negative blow sa peace negotiation. Dagdag pa ito sa iba pang impediments na nilagay ng Arroyo regime like yung extra-judicial killings, disappearances, yung displacement of more than one million peasants in the countryside at ang human security act na anti-people at pati na yung walang pagbigay ng indemnification sa victims ng human rights violations under the Marcos regime at pati na yung collution nila sa terrorist listing ng CPP, NPA at ke Ka Joma," Jalandoni said.

(This has a great impact because the persecution of Joma Sison and their threatening the NDF negotiation panel is a big blow, a negative blow in the peace negotiations. Add to this the other impediments that the Arroyo regime place in their way like extra-judicial killings, disappearances, displacement of more than one million peasants in the countryside, the human security act which is anti-people and even their not giving indemnification to the victims of human rights violations under the Marcos regime plus their collusion in having the CPP, NPA and Ka Joma included in lists of terrorists," Jalandoni said.)

Madrigal said that they simply want to achieve peace because when they held talks two years ago about resuming the peace talks, it did not happen.

"Ang nangyayari eh pataas ng pataas ang extra-judicial killings. Me kinalaman peace pero sana magpakita ng goodwill itong Arroyo government na iresume ang peace talks instead of declaring an all out war policy," Madrigal said.

(What is happening is that there are more and more extra-judicial killings and these extra-judicial killings have something to do with the non-resumption of the peace talks. Everybody wants peace but wishes the Arroyo government would show some goodwill and resume the peace talks instead of declaring an all out war policy," Madrigal said.)

"I filed this resolution and we will continue to explore ways. Kagaya nung sinabi namin sa joint statement na explore namin kung paano iresume yung peace talks and at the same time magkaron ng closure itong mga scandals kagaya nitong ZTE scandal ng Arroyo administration," Madrigal said.

(I filed this resolution and we will continue to explore ways to resume the peace talks. Like when I said in a joint statement that we would explore how to resume the peace talks and at the same time provide closure to the scandals, like that of ZTE, surrounding the Arroyo administration," Madrigal said.)

Madrigal also opposes the Presidential Proclamation 1377. "Yung amnesty ni Mrs. Arroyo bogus amnesty yun dahil that is just to divide the NPAs in the Philippines. It has nothing to do with sincerity. Imbes na mag-amnesty siya I-resume nya itong peace talks," Madrigal said.

(The amnesty being offered by Mrs. Arroyo is a bogus amnesty and is only meant to divide the NPAs in the Philippines. It has nothing to do with sincerity. Instead of offering amnesty, she should work for the resumption of the peace talks," Madrigal said.)

Hopefully kung talagang walang mangyari dito sa administration ni PGMA sa peace talks hopefully yung papalit sa kanyang presidente eh magkaron ng sinceridad na ipatuloy itong peace talks. Of course marami ding gusto siyang ma impeach so tignan natin kung me grounds for impeachment. Mrs. Arroyo should be held responsible for all the corruption, lying cheating, the stealing, the extra-judicial murders happening in her regime kanya hopefully she will get impeached. Marami ata sa ating kababayan ang nagnanais ng impeachment para matapos na ang torture na ginagawa sa atin ng Arroyo administration," Madrigal explained.

Being a very vocal person, she is braced for the worst. Upon arrival in her homeland, she already knows what to expect.

"Sa aking personal feeling, iko-condemn na naman nila ako for personally trying to pursue the peace talks. Pero personally, I think it is hopeless to discuss peace under the Arroyo administration but they have to be pressured and we have to try," Madrigal said.

(I personally feel that I will be condemned for personally trying to pursue the peace talks. But I think it is hopeless to discuss peace under the Arroyo administration but they have to be pressured and we have to try," Madrigal said.)

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