Committee to Defend
Filipino Progressives in Europe
Issued by the International DEFEND Committee
05 October 2007
This chronology of the persecution of Prof. Jose Maria Sison by the Philippine, US and Dutch governments originally extended to 18 August 2007. It is now updated as to include the arbitrary arrest and detention of Prof. Sison from 28 August 2007 onwards by the Dutch government in collaboration with the Philippine and US governments. It also covers the seizures of publications, documents, computers, digital files, bank statements and other properties in raids conducted by the Dutch government on the office of the Stichting NDF Informatie Bureau and the home of the panelists, consultants and staffers of the Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
Prof. Sison is definitely the chief target of the unjust draconian actions of the Dutch government. But it is also obvious that the Dutch, US and Philippine governments are seeking to frame up the NDFP Negotiating Panel, its consultants, staffers and other people with the charge of terrorism in order to put them under duress or totally scuttle the peace negotiations between the NDFP and the Manila government if the former does not capitulate under pressure. The main thrust of the three aforesaid governments is to suppress the national liberation movement in the Philippines under the auspices of the US-instigated global war of terror.
Since his release from military detention and the nullification of subversion and rebellion charges against him in 1986 after the fall of the Marcos fascist dictatorship, Prof. Jose Maria Sison has been subjected to a series of false and politically motivated charges in 1988, 1991, 2003 and 2006. One after the other, these charges have been dismissed and nullified by Philippine courts in 1992, 1994 and 2007. Thus, they have been proven as malicious and pure fabrications of the Philippine military, police and intelligence authorities.
But the Philippine, US and Dutch governments have used the false charges to persecute Prof. Sison. The trumped-up charges of subversion in 1988 and multiple murder in 1991 and the charges of subversion and rebellion nullified in 1986 have been used by the Dutch government to prevent the legal admission as refugee and residence of Prof. Sison in The Netherlands. Even the most unfounded propaganda attacks from the time of Marcos to 2006, which never materialized into formal complaints, have been used by the Philippine, US and Dutch governments to malign him as a “terrorist.” These governments do so even as Philippine prosecutors and courts dismiss and nullify the formal complaints and charges.
1.Under the Marcos fascist dictatorship, the Philippine government subjected Prof. Jose Maria Sison to arbitrary detention from 1977 to 1986 and to various forms of physical and mental torture, including water cure, punching, more than five years of solitary confinement, prolonged deprivation of basic necessities as well as medical and dental care and repeated death threats. He was arrested and detained without judicial warrant and was charged before two military commissions for subversion and rebellion. He was thus put in jeopardy of being punished twice for the same alleged offense of seeking to overthrow the Philippine government.
2.After the fall of the Marcos dictatorship, the Aquino regime released Prof. Sison from military detention on March 5, 1986. The two charges of subversion and rebellion against him were nullified through the dissolution of the military commissions as organs of repression. He joined the faculty of the Asian Studies Center of the state institution, the University of the Philippines in April 1986. From September 1986 onwards, he went on a tour for a series of university lectures and solidarity speeches in Oceania, Asia and Europe on the situation and prospects of the Philippines. The Philippine military authorities publicly attacked his lectures and pressured the Aquino regime to cancel his Philippine passport. They trumped up a new charge of subversion against him in September 1988. This became the basis for the cancellation of his Philippine passport.
3.After the arbitrary cancellation of his passport, Prof. Sison applied for political asylum in The Netherlands in October 1988. The Dutch Ministry of Justice used the false charge of subversion and related false claims against him from the Philippine government as the basis for issuing a negative decision on his asylum application in July 1990. The US State Department admitted publicly that the Philippine government intervened in the asylum case in order to oppose it. But the highest administrative court, the Judicial Department of the Council of State (Raad van State), made a judgment in 1992 annulling the unfavorable decision of the Dutch Ministry of Justice. It recognized Prof. Sison as a political refugee and criticized the ministry for using secret intelligence dossiers against him in contravention of the principle of fair administration and for delaying for more than four years the approval of his asylum application.
4.Despite the 1992 judgment of the Council of State, the Dutch Ministry of Justice refused to grant asylum to Prof. Sison. It also ignored the repeal of the Anti-Subversion Law by the Philippine government in 1992 and the consequent dismissal of the charge of subversion against Prof. Sison by the Pasig city court and the related nullification of the specifications against him. It likewise disregarded the resolution of the Manila city prosecutors in April 1994 dismissing as something based on pure speculation the 1991 complaint of multiple murder arising from the Plaza Miranda bombing in 1971. It continued to use the false charges against Prof. Sison and argue that to grant him asylum would run counter to the commitment and credibility of the Dutch state to its allies. Further, it cited raw intelligence dossiers to fabricate the claim that he is in contact with “terrorist” organizations. It was thus already using the “terrorist” label against him as early as in the years from 1990 to 1994.
5.In response to the new appeal of Prof. Sison in 1993, the Council of State, as the highest administrative court, issued in 1995 the judgment reaffirming its previous ruling that he is a political refugee under Article 1 A of the Refugee Convention and that he is under the protection of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. It ruled that Article 1 F of the Refugee Convention did not apply on him because there was no sufficient evidence against him for crimes that would exclude him from consideration as a refugee. It directed the Dutch Ministry of Justice to grant him legal admission as refugee and residence permit if there was no other country to which he could transfer without violating the Refugee Convention and without putting him at risk of ill treatment prohibited by Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. But the Dutch Ministry of Justice ignored the judgment of the Council of State and continued to refuse him legal admission as refugee and the permit to reside in The Netherlands.
6.Prof. Sison appealed to the newly-created Aliens Court in 1996 against the refusal of the Dutch justice ministry to grant him asylum. The court ordered the Dutch government to make a new decision. The Dutch government ultimately took the position before the Law Unification Chamber (REK, Rechtseenheidkamer) that it had the freedom of policy or discretion to refuse to Prof. Sison legal admission as a refugee and not to give him residence permit but to cease and desist from expelling him from The Netherlands in order to avoid the violation of the principle of nonrefoulement in Article 33 of the Refugee Convention and Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Being dependent on justice ministry personnel, funds and facilities, the REK upheld the position of the Dutch Ministry of Justice and dignified the brazen lie that Prof. Sison was liable for the false accusations of the Philippine government and for “contacts with terrorist organizations” on the basis of intelligence dossiers already examined and evaluated by the Raad van State in 1992 and 1995. It ran counter to the 1992 and 1995 judgments of the Raad van State, the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights in the Chahal case, the dismissal of all charges against Prof. Sison in the Philippines from 1992 to 1994 and the total absence of any criminal charge against him abroad.
7.In April 1998 the justice secretary of the Philippine government issued an official certification declaring that there was no pending criminal charge against Prof. Sison and referred to the 1992 nullification and 1993 dismissal of the 1988 charge of subversion as well as the 1994 dismissal of the 1991 charge of multiple murder related to the Plaza Miranda bombing. From 1994 to 2003, the Philippine government, including the military and police authorities, took a rest from filing any formal criminal complaint against Prof. Sison. The Philippine military authorities merely hurled propaganda attacks against him, despite the fact that the Philippine government had already requested the US government in November 2001 to designate Prof. Sison as a “terrorist”. It was only in 2003 that they submitted to the Department of Justice a complaint against him for the June 2001 killing of the intelligence officer Col. Rodolfo Aquinaldo. The Filipino lawyers of Prof. Sison succeeded in having the complaint archived because of its patent falsity and political motivation and because of the lack of Philippine jurisdiction over him in the light of Philippine and international law.
8.The US government designated Prof. Sison as a “terrorist” on August 12, 2002 and the Dutch government followed suit within 24 hours on August 13, 2002 despite the completely clean legal status of Prof. Sison, despite the absence of any specific act of terrorism that can be ascribed to him, despite the absence of any kind of criminal charge or investigation involving him and despite the Hernandez doctrine in Philippine jurisprudence concerning political offenses and the absence then of any anti-terrorism law in the Philippines. The “terrorist” blacklisting of Prof. Sison by the US and other governments has placed him in a position worse than that of a convicted murderer. He is prohibited from gainful employment. He is deprived of his social benefits, including living allowance, housing, medical insurance, civil liability insurance and old age pension. His bank account is frozen. He is prevented from receiving royalty payments for the publication of his books. He is preempted from receiving compensation for damages due to him for winning his human rights case against the Marcos regime. His fundamental rights have been violated, including the right to the essential means of human existence, the right to the presumption of innocence, the right to defense, the right to be informed of reasons for the sanctions, the right to judicial protection, the right to private and family life, the right of free movement, the right against slander and defamation and the right to be secure against threats to life and reputation.
9.Out to please the US and Philippine governments politically, the Dutch government, with the open lobbying of Philippine authorities, pushed the Council of the European Union to blacklist Prof. Sison on October 28, 2002. Two days after the blacklist decision of the Council, the Dutch government repealed its blacklisting of Prof. Sison but persisted in violating his fundamental rights and causing material and moral damage to him by invoking the Council decision. The Dutch and British governments are the main interveners in support of the Council of the European Union in the case filed by Prof. Sison against the Council before the European Court of First Instance in Luxembourg since February 2003. The Dutch government is the main source of the lies given to the court that (a) Prof. Sison is liable for “terrorism” (and not for rebellion under the Hernandez political offense doctrine of Philippine jurisprudence) for being allegedly the Chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines and head of the New People’Army and (b) the 1992 and 1995 judgments of the Dutch Council of State and the 1997 judgment of the REK on his asylum case held Prof. Sison liable for “terrorism” (contrary to the fact that these courts recognized him 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).
10.In 2005 Arroyo and her henchmen in the Cabinet Oversight Committee on Internal Security and the Anti-Terrorism Task Force started to escalate false accusations against Prof. Sison in the mass media and pushed military officers to file baseless charges of common crimes (like murder, robbery, kidnapping and the like) against him in connection with incidents ascribed to the New People’Army in various parts of the Philippines. The campaign of slander was obviously intended to reinforce the “terrorist” blacklisting of Prof. Sison by various foreign governments and to justify the intensified extrajudicial killing, abduction and torture of progressive legal activists. It was also intended to link Prof. Sison to a broad united front of legal political forces striving to lead the people to oust the Arroyo regime for having cheated in the presidential elections of 2004. The filing of criminal charges against Prof. Sison culminated in an omnibus charge of rebellion on April 21, 2006 against him and 50 other people, including underground revolutionary leaders, progressive congressmen and anti-Arroyo military officers. The purported facts of the charge of rebellion covered the entire period, from the founding of the Communist Party of the Philippines on December 26, 1968 to the filing of the charge on April 21, 2006 and disregarded the nullification of charges and the amnesty proclamations from 1986 to 1995.
11.On April 23, 2007 the Council of the European Union sent to Prof. Sison a letter with a one-page statement that repeats the two lies provided by the Dutch government, as mentioned in No. 9 above. On May 22, 2007 he sent a letter of reply and told the Council that the statement of lies had already been presented by the Council to the European Court of First Instance, has been debunked in court and does not amount to a statement of reasons as required of the Council by the court in cases of “terrorist” blacklisting. Then the Council made a new decision on June 28, 2007 blacklisting Prof. Sison on the basis of the aforesaid lies it had made before. This new decision of the Council is obviously intended to serially perpetuate Prof. Sison in the ‘terrorist” blacklist, continually violate his fundamental rights, cause material and moral damage to him and undermine or render useless any favorable judgment of the European Court of First Instance on his case against the Council of the European Union.
12.The European Court of First Instance issued its judgment on the Sison case on July 11, 2007 annulling the decision of the Council placing him on the “terrorist” list and freezing his financial assets. The annulment is grounded on the Council’infringement of Prof. Sison’right to defense, its failure to give a statement of reasons from the second time that it blacklisted him and the violation of his right to judicial protection. The court does not require the Council to pay for the material and moral damages suffered by Prof. Sison due to its decision and fails to mention that the Dutch government has invoked the decision of the Council in order to inflict material and moral damages on him. However, the court requires the Council to pay for the costs of the litigation to the lawyers of Prof. Sison as plaintiff and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines as intervener. Insofar as it can be established that the Dutch government has directly inflicted material and moral damages on Prof. Sison, he can take legal action to seek compensation for such damages. But it can be expected that the Dutch government will resort to every legal trickery to evade accountability.
13.Prof. Sison has won a resounding legal victory in the Philippines. The Philippine Supreme Court issued on June 1, 2007 an order to the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 150, to dismiss the two criminal cases for rebellion against Prof. Sison and his 50 other co-accused. and nullified all the supposed pieces of evidence against them within the period from 1968 to 2006. In effect, the supposed evidence cannot be used again against all or any of them in any new charge. The solicitor general has publicly admitted that the value of the state’stock of purported evidence has been wiped out. This is the latest instance when Prof. Sison is cleared of a criminal charge. It previously happened in 1986, 1992, 1994 and 1998. At this moment, the Philippine and foreign governments persecuting Prof. Sison should be at a loss in holding him liable for any criminal offense or any semblance of this. The Philippine government can fabricate a charge of rebellion against Prof. Sison only from the date after April 21, 2006 and a charge of “terrorism” from July 15, 2007 which is the date the Human Security Act of 2007 became effective. However, the Human Security Act of 2007 is now under fire by a broad range of democratic forces, human rights organizations and legal experts in the Philippines and abroad for being patently unconstitutional.
14.Even before Prof. Sison can complete his legal victory in the European Court of First Instance by making the Council of the European Union and the Dutch government set aright the wrongs done to him, the Council of the European Union has issued the preemptive June 28, 2006 decision retaining him in the “terrorist” blacklist. He is therefore obliged to file a new application to the European Court of First Instance for the annulment of said decision insofar as he is concerned. He is still subjected to a ceaseless series of attacks on his fundamental rights and is made to suffer further material and moral damages.
15.Under the influence of the US-instigated global war of terror and in pursuit of its own imperialist interests in the Philippines, the Dutch government has taken an increasingly hostile attitude towards Prof. Sison and the NDFP Negotiating Panel. Such attitude is reflected by the public statement of the Dutch foreign ministry that Dutch-Philippine political and economic relations are extensive but burdened by the stay of alleged Filipino communists in Utrecht. Accordingly, the Philippine government has urged the Dutch government in 2005 and 2006 to take suppressive actions against Prof. Sison and the NDFP panelists, consultants and staffers. Thus, the Philippine, Dutch and US governments have collaborated since 2006 in trumping up the charge of inciting or ordering the alleged murder of Kintanar and Tabara against Prof. Sison and in producing the false testimonies of fake witnesses provided by the Philippine government against Prof. Sison and the NDFP-related personnel. The testimonies were taken by Dutch investigators from witnesses at the premises of the US and Dutch embassies in Manila and Clark Air Base.
16.The charge of inciting or ordering the alleged murder of the two military and police agents Kintanar and Tabara against Prof. Sison is flagrantly false and politically motivated. The Kintanar and Tabara incidents have been previously categorized by the Philippine government as specific acts of rebellion in a failed charge of rebellion cited in No. 13 above. They are recycled in The Netherlands as specific acts of murder. The Dutch police and prosecution have not found any direct and sufficient evidence against Prof. Sison because in the first place he is innocent of the charge of inciting or ordering the killing of Kintanar and Tabara. Thus, the district court of The Hague and the Court of Appeals have successively decided to set Prof. Sison free from solitary confinement on 13 September and 03 October 2007, respectively. But the Dutch government has used the said charge as pretext for raiding the NDF Informatie Bureau and the homes of the panelists, consultants and staffers of the NDFP Negotiating Panel on 28 August 2007. There is rising concern among Filipinos, Dutch and other people in The Netherlands that the things seized in the raids can be used to frame up Filipinos who are abroad and prejudice those who are in the Philippines. The latter are extremely vulnerable to human rights violations by the Arroyo regime.
We expect that the Philippine, US and Dutch governments will continue to persecute Prof. Jose Maria Sison and other patriotic and progressive Filipinos by using against them the brute force of political power under the auspices of the fascist “anti-terrorism” laws and decisions that have been devised to justify state terrorism and wars of aggression. We need to continue and intensify both the political and legal struggles of democratic forces and the people of the world in order to defend the fundamental rights of Prof. Sison and other victims of the global trend of fascisation and aggressive wars generated by the imperialist powers and their reactionary puppets.
We must struggle to stop immediately the various forms of persecution which are inflicted on patriotic and progressive leaders like Prof. Jose Maria Sison and which are aimed at suppressing the anti-imperialist and democratic forces and peoples fighting for national liberation, greater freedom, social justice, development and world peace!!!
International DEFEND Committee
Email: [email protected]