By Lira S. Dalangin
Philippine Daily Inquirer
26 September 2002
Kumusta po, Prof. Sison!
My name is Lira Dalangin, a reporter for INQ7.net, the news website of Philippine Daily Inquirer. I hope you take time to reply to my query on issues related to the peace talks.
A news report at the bulatlat.com website quoted you as identifying Speaker Jose de Venecia as being the one who had disclosed the US plot to scuttle the talks as early as last year.
You talked of the same matter in your opening statement in a press conference, Sept. 18, but did not identify the speaker as the source. Was it de Venecia, indeed, who talked to you about the confidential information?
JMS Reply: It was indeed Speaker Jose de Venecia who told me about the scheme of the US to demonize the CPP, NPA and the NDFP chief political consultant as “terrorists” when he phoned from Mexico in November 2001 when he was attending the international conference of the Christian democrats.
But there was nothing confidential about his revelation to me. A PDI columnist Belinda Olivares Cunanan and other Filipinos were with Speaker de Venecia and they were able to listen to our phone conversation. Later on, Belinda would write a column about the main point in said conversation, chiefly the revelation about the scheme of the US to demonize me by misrepresenting me as a “terrorist.”
According to a highly-placed source other than Speaker de Venecia, the national security adviser and the highest defense and military officials in the entourage of Macapagal last November 2001 sat in Washington with their US counterparts to plot the international psywar campaign against me for the purpose of threatening me with extradition to a US territory and thereby intimidating me and the NDFP negotiating panel towards capitulation.
But Ms Macapagal-Arroyo is dumb for believing that the CPP, NPA and NDFP can be made to capitulate by merely threatening the NDFP negotiating panel and myself. You are correct in pointing out that the US scheme merely serves to scuttle the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. You can be sure that the CPP, NPA and NDFP would terminate said negotiations as soon as it becomes clear to them that the US and GRP are putting the NDFP negotiating panel and NDFP chief political consultant under duress.
It is good that in the meantime the NDFP and the broad masses of the people are demanding that the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations be resumed in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration as the framework agreement. The European governments are also being reminded that they must comply with the 1997 and 1999 resolutions of the European parliament endorsing and supporting the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.
Lira Dalangin: How did you react then when you learned about the forthcoming terrorist label, freezing of funds, etc? Were there specific actions from the CPP and NDF leadership to verify this, or avert them from happening?
JMS Reply: I was not at all intimidated by the forthcoming terrorist label, freezing of whatever funds and so on. Neither was I intimidated by the thinly veiled threats of extradition or assassination by the CIA. Modesty aside, I could not be intimidated by the Marcos fascist dictatorship, even while I was already in maximum security detention. Neither was I ever attracted to any offer of unprincipled compromise and high position from Marcos or any of his successors.
The NDFP, its negotiating panel and chief political consultant did not do any kind of bending towards any threat from the direction of the US and GRP. They simply stressed the need to resume the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration , to accelerate negotiations on social and economic reforms and to promote the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.
Lira Dalangin: In an interview, de Venecia confirmed he warned you about the CPP’s inclusion in the state department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations. But he denied mentioning other details you cited in your september 18 statement. Could you enlighten me on his exact words? Did he also tell you who his source was in the state department about the information?
JMS Reply: I am glad that you mention de Venecia’s confirmation of his warning me about the US State Department’s plan to list the CPP, NPA and myself as “terrorists.” De Venecia is not my only source. Even national security adviser Roilo Golez is also my open source. Did he not declare publicly (see the Aug. 22 issue of PDI) that the US would eventually trump up a criminal charge against me by somehow linking me to the killing of Colonel James Rowe in 1989?
The mouth of Norberto Gonzales is also quite an open source. I have other sources in the Macapagal entourage of November 2001 to Washington. But I cannot identify them because they gave to me details on a confidential basis. You understand my point because you are a journalist and you know that discreet sources of information cannot be identified publicly.
But let me now return to Speaker de Venecia. He said that he was warning the NDFP about the US scheme and was proposing as a way out of that malicious scheme that the NDFP sign soon a final peace agreement drafted within two or three months. What he said in November 2001 by phone in Mexico, he would reiterate in our interfaces in Europe in November, December and July.
Sometimes, I thought that he was underestimating the integrity, capabilities and fighting spirit of the revolutionary forces and people. At other times, I thought that he had a good estimate of the strength and morale of the revolutionary movement whenever he said that the US scheme would only exacerbate the civil war in the Philippines. He also said that taking me out of Europe and out of the negotiations would be to sabotage the negotiations.
Lira Dalangin: Of “exploratory talks,” how are you preparing for this?
JMS Reply: GRP negotiating panel chairman Silvestre Bello III is always planning to come over with some of his panelists to the Netherlands for talks with their NDFP counterparts to pave the way for the soonest possible formal negotiations in Oslo Norway. He is welcome. In this regard the Norwegian government has reiterated its willingness to facilitate the peace negotiations.
It would be too late for Bebot Bello to come if the US and Dutch governments succeed in extraditing any one of those involved in the peace negotiations on the side of the NDFP or in making it so clear that they wish to put the NDFP negotiating panel under duress. I think that the NDFP is ready for serious negotiations and is likewise ready for terminating them if necessary. The state terrorism and all out war policy of the US imperialists and the reactionary puppets in power can only serve to incite the people to wage armed revolution.#