By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
May 27, 2018
- Can you describe the kind of personal security measures you have there in Utrecht po, given your stature as CPP founder and the sensitivity of the peace talks? Personally, I imagined stricter security for you there, again given your situation.
JMS: At home, I get personal security from friendly relations with neighbors, the intercom and alarm system of the apartment building and the emergency phone number. There are also the routine police patrols in the neighborhood and possibly electronic surveillance of my phone and digicam coverage of my street. The NDF Information Office to which I go very often is located in the city center of Utrecht and is certainly covered by digicam surveillance and police patrols.
- I know you’ve heard this before po. But given your age and physical health, aren’t you tired of waging this revolution which has been going on for nearly half a century? How determined are you to see the completion of the peace negotiations this time?
JMS: I have done my share of waging revolution by fighting the Marcos regime in the battlefield for nine years, from 1968 to 1977 and then in prison for another 9 years, from 1977 to1986. While in political asylum, for 30 years since 1988, I have had to respect the law of The Netherlands and use my research, writing and speaking skills on Philippine and global issues in the exercise of my freedom of expression.
My age and health now prevent me from being a mountain-climbing guerrilla fighter. I cannot repeat my stints in the Tarlac-Zambales mountains and the Sierra Madre forest region of Isabela. But many younger and healthier comrades can continue with the people´s war if a just and lasting peace is not possible through peace negotiations.
The Dutch and European courts have ruled in my favor in cases brought against me with claims that I have used The Netherlands to commit crimes and have stated that my long-running circumstances prevent me from being an operational leader of the CPP in the Philippines. Far from being a direct and active player in the civil war in the Philippines, I have been best known as a political consultant of the NDFP in peace negotiations with GRP since 1989.
- Were there instances where your security was threatened there? Perhaps coming from state agents?
JMS: There were instances where my security was threatened. During the Cory Aquino regime, a Dutch journalist was approached by an AFP military officer in 1990 in Manila that he could get the reward money for my head if he could help in my capture or death. This was exposed in a Dutch magazine.
There were assassination teams dispatched against me in 1999-2000 during the Estrada regime. The Dutch police was able to verify some of the evidence submitted by then Col. Reynaldo Berroya in early 2001. The evidence was first brought to light in the Philippines by Mike Enriquez in his program.
In November 2001, however, the Arroyo regime started to request the US government to designate the CPP, NPA and myself as ¨terrorists¨. The US designated me as a ¨terrorist¨ in August 2002 and the Dutch government followed suit and eventually became the prime mover for my being listed as ¨terrorist¨ by the European Union.
Next move of the Arroyo regime was to feed the Dutch authorities with false murder charges against me in 2006 to 2007. Thus, I was arrested and detained for some 17 days in 2007. I was released for insufficiency of evidence.
In 2009, I won my case before the European Court of Justice against my being listed as ¨terrorist¨ by the EU. The Dutch national prosecution office dropped completely the false murder charges against me also in 2009.
Some people , who have advised me not to go home, have called my attention to the fact that the same high military oficers who tried to put me down with ¨terrorist¨ listing and false murder charges during the Arroyo regime are in high positions around Duterte and are probably cooking up something against me. But I am still focused on working for substantial progress in the peace negotiations, such as the mutual approval of CASER by the GRP and NDFP, to lay the basis for my homecoming.
- If Duterte is indeed serious about his invitation for you to come home, don’t you think he should do something to convince the US to remove you from its terror list?
JMS: Yes, indeed, Duterte ought to request the US to remove my name from its list of ¨terrorists¨. In the first place, it was Arroyo as GRP president who requested the US to list me as ¨terrorist¨. With my name in the US list of ¨terrorists¨, I can be intercepted by the US on my way home to the Philippines.
In Rome in February 2017, during the third round of formal talks, the GRP negotiating panel volunteered to have the GRP request the US for the removal of my name from the US list of ¨terrorists¨. But after the third round, the GRP negotiating panel became deafeningly silent about the matter.
Duterte himself has created obstacles and hindrances to the progress of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations by issuing Proclamation 360 to terminate the peace negotiations and Proclamation 374 to designate the CPP and NPA as ¨terrorists¨, by filing the petition to proscribe the CPP and NPA as ¨terrorists¨, by issuing warrants of arrest against NDFP consultants and earlier by extending martial law in Mindanao and threatening to declare martial law nationwide.
The GRP-NDFP peace negotiations can be resumed and can progress only if these obstacles and hindrances are removed by Duterte himself.