Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Let me first thank all of you, including those who are online in other countries, for participating and the Committee to Defend Filipino Progressives in Europe for organizing this press conference.
The focus of this press conference is the issue of my being blacklisted by the Council of the European Union and being subjected to punitive sanctions for the heinous crime of terrorism, without being informed of any specific act of terrorism of which I am suspected or in fact being held culpable and without any proper criminal investigation, hearing or trial.
The issue has become urgent because I have received the letter of the Council of the European Union dated 23 April 2007, which starts by saying that it has the intent to retain me in the blacklist, as if it were giving me a chance to clear myself, but concludes that it has already decided to retain me in the blacklist on the basis of all the blatantly false allegations which I have debunked before the European Court of First Instance. Said letter makes a travesty of the just demand to define the procedure and the basis for listing and delisting an individual or organization.
Since the time I applied for political asylum in 1988, I have been prohibited from taking regular employment in The Netherlands. For more than four years since I was blacklisted as a terrorist in 2002, the Dutch authorities have terminated my social benefits, such as living allowance, housing, health insurance, civil liability insurance and old age pension. I am treated worse than a convicted murderer, who has gone through a judicial process and is assured of the essential means of human existence while in prison.
So flagrantly violated are my rights to be informed of the specific crime (instead of the blanket hysterical charge of terrorism) that I am being accused of, to presumption of innocence, to due process, to defense, to the essential means of human existence, to the basic right to life, to family union and privacy and to security from damage to my moral and physical integrity.
My being blacklisted as a “terrorist” has absolutely no legal and factual basis. The Dutch and European authorities are being absolutely malicious and mendacious by misrepresenting as amounting to criminal conviction for terrorism those court judgments of the Raad van State and Rechtseenheidskamer on my asylum cases in 1995 and 1997 respectively in The Netherlands, which categorically rule that I am a political refugee in the sense of Article 1 A of the Refugee Convention and that there is no reason for me to fall under the category of Article 1 F.
The Philippine government has fed false information to the Dutch government since the time I applied for political asylum in 1988 and yet in 1998 declared and certified that there was no criminal charge pending against me. The subversion charge in 1988 had been nullified by the repeal of the Anti-Subversion in 1992 and the complaint of multiple murder in 1991 had been dismissed by the Manila city prosecutors in 1994 as something based on pure speculation. In other words, the Manila government had misled and fooled the Dutch government in my asylum case.
I have been unjustly prevented from being admitted as a political refugee, despite the fact that I have been recognized as a political refugee by the Dutch courts and the office of the High Commission for Refugees. As if there is no end to what my powerful political opponents are doing in order to persecute me, they have put me in the so-called terrorist list by using the political hysteria and perversions of legality that have been instigated worldwide by the now-discredited Bush regime in the aftermath of 9/11.
The Bush regime has used 9/11 to mix “military Keynesianism” with “neoliberal globalization”, to drum up the barbaric principle of preemptive war, to launch wars of aggression as in Iraq and Afghanistan, to engage in military intervention as in the Philippines, to promote the adoption of fascist laws and the worsening of state terrorism and repressive regimes all in the name of combating terrorism. The current Arroyo regime operates within the ambit of the US and other imperialist powers and, of course, the exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords in my country.
The semi-colonial political conditions and the semifeudal socio-economic conditions in the Philippines have become worse from year to year under the current Arroyo regime. It has aggravated the oppression and exploitation of the people. It has conjured the false illusion of economic growth by engaging in excessive foreign and local borrowing and grabbing the foreign exchange income of the overseas contract workers for purposes other than the development of the economy. It knows no bounds for the gross and systematic violations of human rights, such as massacres and assassinations, abductions, torture and violent displacement of the people in the urban and rural areas.
The recent elections in the Philippines have been characterized by massive vote-buying, fraud and mass intimidation. These have been perpetrated by the bureaucratic and military operatives of the Arroyo regime in order to make its candidates get an overwhelming false victory in the local and congressional elections and secure the fake president from impeachment. But electoral cheating and terrorism serve only to sharpen and aggravate the political and economic crisis of the ruling system.
The internal contradictions among the reactionaries are expected to become more bitter and more violent. The people’s resistance to the regime is steadfast and always rising despite the escalating level of repression. The regime is becoming more arrogant, mindless and brutal with its false electoral victory and with the Anti-Terrorism Law in hand for implementation in July. It is obsessed with seeking the destruction of the people’s revolutionary movement by military means and has no use for addressing the social roots of the civil war through peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
I think that I have said enough for opening the press conference. I am ready for questions. Thank you.