PRESS STATEMENTS & INTERVIEWS, 2001 - Present
Three Governments Persist in Persecuting Me
By Jose Maria Sison
Chief Political Consultant
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
21 January 2008
In quick response to the announcement of the Dutch prosecutor that the preliminary investigation against me would be extended to the middle of this year, I expressed confidence that the charge would be dropped or if not that I would certainly win the case in court. I cited as basis of confidence the decisions of the District Court of The Hague on 13 September 2007, the Court of Appeal on 3 October 2007 and the examining judge on 21 November 2007.
But my colleagues and friends have called my attention to the fact that the US, Dutch and Manila governments persist in persecuting me. They have therefore urged me to underscore this fact and to show that the persecution has been cumulative and has become nastier from period to period, despite the significant court decisions that I have won. So far the best summary of my persecution in The Netherlands is the Updated Chronology of Persecution of Prof. Jose Maria Sison issued by the International DEFEND Committee on 5 October 2007.
As soon as I left the Philippines for a world lecture tour on 31 August 1986, the Philippine military launched a campaign of vilification against me. It succeeded in pressuring the Aquino regime to cancel my Philippine passport in September 1988 in an attempt to force my return to the Philippines and make possible my arrest on the false charge of subversion. But I applied for political asylum in The Netherlands in October 1988.
Since then for propaganda purposes, the Philippine military had fabricated so many false charges against me. Only the 1988 charge of subversion was filed in court. The charge of multiple murder in the Plaza Miranda bombing was never filed beyond the level of the city prosecutors of Manila. Upon the order of the US, the Philippine government intervened in my asylum case and fed the false charges to the Dutch government which gave credence to these and used them as basis for rejecting my application for asylum.
Notwithstanding the decision of the Dutch justice ministry to deny me asylum, the Dutch Council of State recognized me as a political refugee under Article 1 A of the Refugee Convention and as someone protected by Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights in 1992 and 1995. Thus I continue to stay in The Netherlands. The subversion charge against me was nullified by the Pasay city court in 1992 and the charge of murder was dismissed by the Manila city prosecutors in 1994. The Philippine secretary of justice certified that there was no pending criminal charge against me in 1998.
But the Dutch government has continued to go by the fiction that I am not qualified to be granted asylum and residence. It has prevented me from professional employment and reduced me to receiving measly social benefits. It seemed like I would remain a "tolerated alien", without getting any further assaults from the Dutch authorities. But came 12 August 2002, when the US government designated me as a "terrorist", the Dutch government followed suit within 24 hours without any judicial basis and subjected me to punitive measures, including the freezing of bank account, termination of social benefits, public naming and shaming as "terrorist", restrictions on travel and so on.
It looked like the US, Dutch and Manila governments were satisfied and would not do any worse against me because they were already severely punishing me under the terms of "terrorist" blacklisting without the trouble of having me convicted in any court of law. It also seemed that the three governments would be restrained by the resounding legal victories that I won, such as the Philippine Supreme Court's nullification of the charge of rebellion against me and 50 others and the European Court of First Instance's annulment of the "terrorist' blacklisting of me by the Council of the European Union on 2 July and 11 July 2007, respectively.
But the malicious obsession of the US, Dutch and Manila governments to persecute me is persistent and boundless. It would seem as if my court victories were not deterrents but spurs on these governments to become more brutal and vicious. They wanted to arrest, imprison and humiliate me on the trumped up charge of inciting murder. They wanted to put me indefinitely in solitary confinement as Marcos did under his fascist dictatorship. They succeeded for 17 days, until the District Court of The Hague decided to release me.
But do I really find complete comfort in the fact that the District Court of The Hague, the Court of Appeal and the examining judge have successively ruled in my favor and described the evidence against me as insufficient and lacking in merit for continuing the preliminary investigation? No. The prosecutor does not conceal her arrogance, meanness and viciousness. She glowers in judgment over two courts and the examining judge and seems to flaunt that she has special orders from higher authorities. She actually threatens to expand the charges and the punitive laws against me and others who have been victimized since the sweeping police raids on 28 August 2007.
Definitely, I continue to be subjected to escalating levels of persecution. So are the members, consultants and staffers of the Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines who still need to recover all the things arbitrarily seized from them. We have competent lawyers. But we are confronted with the brute force of state power. And we need the firm solidarity and active support of the people of the world so that our rights are protected and so that we can continue with the Filipino people's struggle for national liberation, democracy and a just peace. ###