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Dec 03rd
Home Columns Dissenting Opinion International Committee “DEFEND” Condemns Continuing Oppression of Professor Sison
International Committee “DEFEND” Condemns Continuing Oppression of Professor Sison PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - Dissenting Opinion
Saturday, 07 June 2008 02:49

Issued by

International Committee DEFEND

Email: * Telephone: 00-31-30-8895306



We, the International Committee DEFEND, hereby condemn the long-running scheme of Philippine and Dutch government authorities at the highest level to oppress and criminalize Professor Jose Maria Sison by subjecting him to false charges of murder against him and to an endless politically-motivated criminal investigation. 

The oppression of Professor Sison by Dutch authorities began on January 26, 2005, when Philippine Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo and Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner met and agreed to subject Professor Sison to false murder charges in connection with the killing of Philippine military assets Romulo Kintanar in 2003 and Arturo Tabara in 2004.


The Romulo-Donner agreement led to the intense surveillance on Professor Sison, the taking of testimonies by the Dutch police from witnesses provided by Philippine authorities in Manila from January 2006 onwards and the arrest of Professor Sison on August 28, 2007, as well as raids on the office of the NDF Information office and the homes of members, consultants and staffers of the NDFP Negotiating Panel.


The scheme to oppress and criminalize Professor Sison and other Filipinos abroad is part of the so-called legal offensive of the Arroyo government to preoccupy and stigmatize leaders of the opposition by levelling false criminal charges against them through the instrumentality of so-called Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG) of the Oplan Bantay Laya.  This agency is so notorious that the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings and summary executions, Philip Alston, has recommended its abolition.


It is important to be aware of the political context in which Professor Sison is subjected to endless criminal investigation despite the decisions of the District Court of The Hague on September 13, 2007, The Hague Court of Appeal on October 3, 2007, and the examining judge on November 21, 2007, that there is no prima facie evidence against him.  In its decision, the Hague Court of Appeal pointed to the political context in which the witnesses against Professor Sison are unreliable and that it is doubtful whether he can cross-examine the witnesses who are managed by the Philippine military.


In its June 5, 2008, decision on the complaint of Professor Sison demanding the end of the overextended criminal investigation against him, the District Court of The Hague declared that up to now there is no incriminating evidence against him. But the court decided to give the prosecution an unspecified amount of time to further interrogate witnesses and further examine the things seized in the raids on August 28, 2007.


It is anomalous that in its decision the court claims falsely that the lawyer of Professor Sison withdrew the demand for the termination of the criminal investigation. In fact, the lawyer vigorously reminded the court that the prosecution had asked for an extension of the investigation up to mid-June 2008.  It is even more anomalous for the court to claim falsely in its decision that the examining judge closed the preliminary investigation on November 21, 2007, after supposedly giving the prosecution a blank check on the interrogation of witnesses.


The June 5, 2008, decision of the District Court of The Hague has created a series of problems.  It has not made clear what are the grounds and in respect of what facts is the prosecution allowed the unspecified or unlimited time to continue and complete investigation.  The prosecution is practically allowed to generate witnesses and evidence as freely as it wishes and to prolong the investigation as it pleases.


Since the prosecution received the aforesaid court decision, the prosecution has casually tried to enlist the assistance of  the office of the examining judges in  the supposed task of investigation, without  clarity of grounds and without a modicum of respect for the role of the examining judge in accordance  with definite provisions in the Code of Criminal Procedure.


It seems like anything goes in the sphere of criminal investigation, prosecution and even in judicial decision-making so long as the political interests of the highest officials of government are served.  Is the supposed rule of law in The Netherlands being bent or degraded to subserve the political collaboration of the Dutch and other governments against individuals like Professor Jose Maria Sison who intelligently and courageously exercise their freedom of thought at and expression in the service of the people? # # #

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Last Updated on Saturday, 07 June 2008 02:51

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