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(UPDATE) Sison unperturbed by Dutch court order

By Veronica Uy

Posted date: June 06, 2008

MANILA, Philippines -- Self-exiled Filipino communist leader Jose Ma. Sison on Friday said he was unperturbed by the Dutch court’s order giving prosecutors the go-ahead to pursue inquiry into his alleged involvement in the killings of two erstwhile comrades in the Philippine communist movement. This as Sison and his lawyer Michiel Pestman derided as "more of the same rubbish" the evidence presented by the prosecutors during the May 20 hearing of his complaint that the inquiry has been unnecessarily prolonged.

Sison, who has been living in the Netherlands since 1987, said the District Court of The Hague only decided to allow the public prosecutor's office to have more time to complete its investigation.

"The court acceded to the plea of the prosecution that it be allowed to examine some materials seized on August 28, 2007 but not yet examined by it since then and to possibly interrogate further witnesses," Sison said in an e-mail to

He said that only after the investigation can the court decide if there is enough evidence to put him on trial.

"The District Court of The Hague has affirmed my position that since the examining judge decided to close the preliminary investigation on 21 November 2007, the prosecution has not turned up any evidence to overturn the decision of the Court of Appeal on October 3, 2007 declaring that there is no prima facie evidence against me," he said.

Sison, 68, the founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its military wing, the New People's Army (NPA), was arrested in August 2007 in his adopted town of Utrecht on suspicion of having ordered, from the Netherlands, the murder of former NPA commanders Romulo Kintanar and Arturo Tabara.

But in September, the district court of The Hague ordered that Sison be freed "for lack of grave presumptions," a decision upheld in October by the appellate court.

The public prosecutor's office closed the preliminary inquiry against Sison in November last year, but informed him in January that it intended pursuing him further.

The district court found on Thursday that while the prosecution's case file still held insufficient evidence, the investigation was ongoing and should be given time to unfold.

Meanwhile, Sison took a swipe at the Philippine government for allegedly masterminding an assassination attempt on him.

"For the purpose of legal action, my lawyers are studying the failure of the Dutch authorities to act promptly on the findings about the assassination projects of the Philippine authorities," he said.

Sison was referring to the witnesses and documentary evidence the Dutch prosecution office and police have turned up, showing that two assassination teams were sent from the Philippines to the Netherlands to kill him between 1999 and 2001.

Dutch authorities should pursue this attempt on his life, Sison said, adding it constitutes grave criminal acts and infringements of Dutch sovereignty. With Agence France-Presse

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