Statement on the release of
Prof. Jose Maria Sison by the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA)
The enemy wants to bury us
In the dark depths of prison...
We suffer but we endure
And draw up gold and pearl
From depths of character
Formed so long in struggle.
- Jose Maria Sison
In the Dark Depths
10 April 1978
Prison and Beyond
Professor Jose Maria Sison or Joma walked from prison yesterday,
September 13, as a free and innocent man. His release after 17 days
of detention is a welcome development, as it is a victory in the
fight against the political persecution by the Philippine, United
States and Dutch governments against Sison and the Filipino people.
Sison was detained with charges of participation of, alternatively
incitement to the intentional and premeditated murders of Romulo
Kintanar, Arturo Tabara and Stephen Ong committed here in
the Philippines. The District Court of The Hague stated that The
files do not provide a sufficient basis for the suspicion that the
accused, while staying in the Netherlands , committed the offences
he is charged with in deliberate and close co-operation with the
perpetrators in the Philippines . Neither can indications be found
for the presence of grave presumptions with regard to incitement
to these offences.
We are grateful for the pouring of protests and statements against
his arrest and detention. The support shown by different groups
and organizations for the Chief Political Consultant for the National
Democratic Front of the Philippines Peace Negotiation Panel is a
show of support for the quest for justice and peace in the Philippines.
We call on the Philippine government to go back to the peace negotiating
table and sincerely attend to the peace negotiations as a priority
solution to the civil war in the country rather than politically
persecute the likes of Jose Maria Sison, desperately dangle its
cheap amnesty program and boast of its military solution.
The arrest of Jose Maria Sison in line with the governments
objective of crushing the insurgency by 2010 is not the solution
to the ongoing civil war in the Philippines . The root problems
in Philippine society need to be addressed and this can be facilitated
through the defined stages of the peace negotiations.
Currently, the peace negotiations have not yet reached an agreement
on the social and economic reforms which is the second phase of
the four defined stages of the negotiation before the end of hostilities.
It must also be noted that with the extrajudicial killings, enforced
disappearances and other numerous human rights violations in the
country, the Philippine government is in serious violation of the
Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International
Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) which was borne out of the peace negotiations.
Despite his release, the political persecution against Sison is
not yet over. Wim de Bruin, the spokesperson of the Dutch National
Prosecutors Office stated that the investigation will continue
and the Dutch police will still consider him as a suspect. This
was immediately seconded by the statements of Philippine governments
National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales.
These announcements are indications of further political persecution
in the coming days. More vigilance is needed against a more aggressive
campaign to curtail the rights of Jose Maria Sison and members of
the National Democratic Front of the Philippines Peace Negotiation
Panel and also the legal organizations that are openly tagged by
the Philippine government as sectoral fronts of the Communist Party
of the Philippines .
In the quest for a just and lasting peace, the people will be made
to suffer by the fascist governments but they will endure.###
Atty. Reynaldo Cortes
Cordillera Human Rights Alliance
Deputy Secretary General
Cordillera Human Rights Alliance