Interview with Professor Jose Ma. Sison
About Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines
By Masaru Takagi
Manila Bureau Chief
Nippon Hoso Kyosai (NHK)
E-mail interview prior to videocam interview
October 6, 2006
Masaru Takagi (MT): In several statements, the National Democratic Front has repeatedly named President Arroyo as behind
the extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. What led NDF to arrive at such conclusion? What will
the Arroyo government gain or achieve to gain from these?
Professor Jose Maria Sison (JMS): The National Democratic of the Philippines (NDFP) has come to the conclusion that she is behind
the extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations on the basis of the facts, including the following:
1.The extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations are committed within the framework of the
US-directed war of terror, the declared all-out war policy of the Arroyo regime and Oplan Bantay Laya.
They are directed by the Cabinet Oversight Committee on Internal Security. The death squads consist
of handpicked elements of the military and police supervised by Military Intelligence Groups.
2.Many of the victims are first attacked as "enemies" of the state" and listed in the "order of battle" of
the military. Nearly all victims receive death threats and are visited by intelligence officers before they
are killed by motor cycle riding killers in most cases.
3.There are 763 victims of assassination (up to the murder of Bishop Alberto Ramento), more than 200
survivors of assassination attempts and more than 185 abductions. These crimes are committed with
impunity. Only the state is capable of committing so many crimes with immunity. The highest officials
of the Arroyo regime and Philippine National Police (PNP) cover up the killers by putting the blame on
the New People's Army (NPA) and on the victims themselves for supposedly being communists or NPA
members "under purge".
MT: Would the stalled GRP-NDF peace talks have connections with the killings and disappearances? Please
enlighten us as to whether this kind of environment an indication of either an attempt of the government
to force NDF to return to the negotiating table or that the government is no longer talking peace with NDF?
JMS: As early as when Oplan Bantay Laya was still being planned in 2001, we learned from palace insiders
that the extrajudicial killings are meant to destroy the revolutionary movement or compel the National
Democratic Front of the Philippines to capitulate in the peace negotiations.
Arroyo and her principal hatchetmen in the Cabinet Oversight Committee on Internal Security and the highest
military officials openly indicate that the extrajudicial killings and other operations of Oplan Bantay Laya are
meant to destroy the revolutionary movement. They believe that the all-out war policy, the catchword
of anti-terrorism and the extrajudicial killings can unite the fractious military and police and serve their political
According to former chairman of the GRP Negotiating Panel Silvestre Bello, the extrajudicial killings are meant
to strengthen the negotiating position of the GRP. But I do not think that the Arroyo regime is thereby
attempting to return to the peace negotiations. The regime is preoccupied with using the all-out war policy
for the purpose of political survival and complying with the US war of terror.
MT: Given these political killings and abductions of NDF consultants and known allies, is the NDF ready to talk
peace with the Arroyo government? What actions will you undertake to address the killings and disappearances?
Also, President Arroyo has formed probe bodies to solve the political killings and disappearances. How do you
view this effort?
JMS: I do not think that the NDFP is ready to negotiate peace with the Manila government while the
extrajudicial killings are going on and no justice has been rendered to those hundreds of workers and peasants,
political activists, journalists, church people, human rights activists and peace advocates who have been
murdered. This question of justice is a prejudicial question in addition to the so-called terrorist listing.
The NDFP would prefer to see first the Arroyo regime to go out of power one way or another. Then the
victims and the people can go after the murderers from the level of Arroyo to the death squads. In the
meantime, the families, organizations and churches and the domestic and international human rights
organizations can collect the evidence against the murderers as basis for future actions. Among possible
future actions, after the Arroyo regime is out of power, are those that can be initiated in the Joint Monitoring
Committee within the framework of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and
International Humanitarian Law CARHRIHL).
The probe bodies like Task Force Usig and the Melo Commission are all meant to cover up the criminal
culpability of the regime, put the blame on the revolutionary movement and vilify the victims, their families
and colleagues. In this connection, the Arroyo regime is far more evil that the Marcos regime in systematically
killing its political opponents and blaming others for the crime. It uses bloody intrigue to justify further
MT: As mentioned, we are focusing on the abduction of Mr. Phillip Limjoco. What do you know of his background?
Why would the government have a specific interest in him? Have you received information about his condition
JMS: I do not have much direct personal knowledge of Mr. Philip Limjoco. But I have learned from those
who know him very well that he was detained during the time of Marcos for opposing the fascist dictatorship.
They praise him as a patriotic and progressive person and as an effective community organizer.
Since last year, according to his family, he has been in the "order of battle" of the military. He is one of those
falsely accused of rebellion by the military and the department of justice of the regime. We do not have any
information about his condition apart from the reports of Karapatan about his disappearance. His military
abductors are either hiding him or they have done something worse to him.
MT: The CPP-NPA has intensified attacks against the military and the police in recent months. Do you see the
fighting escalating? How are the civilians protected from being caught in the war?
JMS: The CPP-NPA has intensified attacks against the military and police because of the prior escalation of
attacks by their enemy under Oplan Bantay Laya. The fighting is likely to increase and spread because in the
first place the Arroyo regime is carrying out an all-out war policy. As as far as the National Democratic Front of
the Philippines, it will continue to see to it that the revolutionary fighters of the New People's Army serve the
people and follow its revolutionary principles and rules, the Geneva Conventions and its protocols and the
Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for HR and IHL in order to protect the civilians and respect their rights.
MT: Until when do you see yourself seeking refuge in The Netherlands? Could this happen under the Arroyo
JMS: I will continue to stay as a recognized political refugee under the terms of the European Convention
on Human Rights and the Refugee Convention. The NDFP has asked me to stay put in The Netherlands for the
purpose of peace negotiations. While the Arroyo ruling clique is still in power, the resumption of the peace
negotiations is unlikely to happen. But the next administration of the GRP might still want to negotiate with
End of Interview.