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A year after arrest, Sison’s case in the Netherlands still in limbo

By LOUI GALICIA
ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau
September 6, 2008

It has been one year since the arrest of Jose Maria Sison in Utrecht, Netherlands on Aug. 28, 2007, yet it is still not clear where his case is headed, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau reported.

The founding chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines was detained in Scheveningen prison on charges filed by the Public Prosecutor’s Office for the murders of erstwhile allies Romulo Kintanar and Arturo Tabara in the Philippines but was released two weeks later on lack of incriminating evidence.

At the same time as his arrest, the National Democratic Front office and houses of the NDF members were raided which resulted in the confiscation of computers, diskettes, CDs and files but which are slowly being returned now.

In June, the Prosecution was granted permission by the District Court of The Hague to continue its investigation of Sison until December.

On the anniversary of his arrest, Sison expressed his anger because he said that up to now there is really nothing against him.

"I was dissatisfied with the ruling of the court with regard to our demand that our investigation and prosecution be ended but there’s a key point in that decision of the court, that there’s no incriminating evidence. It’s just giving way to the prosecution to continue investigating as it wishes. The prosecution has that much prerogative to continue its investigation with the police even without the presence of an investigating judge," Sison said.

"Mahabang panahon na ang dumaan bago ako naaresto noong 2007. Ngayon napatunayan sa court na walang evidence and they [prosecution] got more than, more time to do the investigation so meron silang plus na one year by September. ‘Yong malaking abuso sa akin eh ‘yong pang-iipit na walang pinangbabatayan so may basis kami by September to complain and make a demand to end [the investigation]," Sison added.

Seized materials being returned

Sison complained that since June, he didn’t hear anymore from the Prosecution except that it is now returning the rest of the materials that were confiscated last year.

In a visit to the NDF office in Utrecht for this interview, Negotiating Panel official Fidel Agcaoili and staffer Aldo Gonzales showed to ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau five boxes containing binders of documents, diskettes and books that the Prosecution recently returned to the office.

"Sabi nga mga twelve boxes ang sinauli pero para sa lahat ‘yon. Sa akin parang three boxes, para sa akin eh kulang pa ‘yon. Marami pang kulang sa akin. Me hinihintay pa akong isang box ng mga CDs, ah no, hindi CDs, kundi diskettes at ilang pang files na hinihintay ko," Agcaoili said.

For Sison however, this is a good sign.

"Nearly everything confiscated during the raids of Aug. 28 last year, sinasauli na. Konti na lang natitira and only a few days ago, things taken were returned and only the remaining few materials shall be returned next time so we think that the Prosecution is moving already towards the closing of the case because of the continuing lack of evidence," Sison said.

"Of course we don’t have word now. But it’s our estimate that it [prosecution] can’t find, it seems that it hasn’t found any evidence, otherwise due notice would have been given the court and to me as suspect," Sison added.

Filing complaint

But Sison is still readying to file a complaint if the case is not yet closed by September.

"Well when it comes in September and there will be no finding of incriminating evidence, then it will be good. The lack of incriminating evidence will be a good basis for demanding the termination of the case. Because you know, the passage of more than one year would mean that the prosecution went into the arrest operations of Aug. 28 without any basis, not withstanding the fact that it did not prepare for the case well before Aug. 28, 2007. He had one more year to investigate and it has nothing," Sison exclaimed.

Sison said that he seems to have been born with a lot of patience since he has become immune to abuse.

"Kung titignan mo, sa dinami ng paratang sa akin at sa haba ng panahon eh pinatutunayan na wala naman akong kinalaman sa mga paratang. Hindi ba ang dami na. Yung china-charge sa kin," Sison said.

He gave examples of why even when he was still in the Philippines, it was impossible for him to commit a crime.

"Directly, galing ako sa fascist imprisonment under Marcos, Pagkatapos paglabas ko sa detention, I entered government service by getting reinstated sa UP. Full time ako naglecture bago ako umalis at wala akong pahinga sa mga press interview at speeches. Wala akong pagkakataong gumawa ng kahit na anong krimen," Sison said.

Sison charged that his persecution continues and believes that it will never stop.

"Hindi na titigil siguro dahil ako naman walang tigil sa pagtataguyod ng prinsipyo at pagbatikos sa pagsasamantala at pang-aapi ng mga imperyalistang Amerikano sa ating bansa at syempre sa maraming concrete issues pati na yung walang batayang pagiging presidente ni Gloria dahil nandaya sa election. At si Gloria naman, para mapatibay ang posiyon niya eh sumakay sa anti-terrorism campaign ng U.S. sa kagustuhan niyang matulungan siya ng U.S. para mapanatili siya sa kapangyarihan. Sumasabay siya sa U.S. sa aking persecution," Sison said.

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