MANILA — Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año on Thursday said exiled Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) leader Joma Sison must be hallucinating when he claimed that he is protected in his self-imposed exile in the Netherlands.
“Ang isang kriminal ay hindi kailanman puwedeng ituring na political refugee. Ang isang mass murderer ay hindi puwedeng maging refugee. Buking ka na, Joma, kaya panagutan mo ang mga kasalanan mong pagpatay sa mga kapwa mo Pilipino (A criminal can never be considered a political refugee. A mass murderer can never be a refugee. Joma, you are exposed so you better answer for your crime of killing your fellow Filipinos),” Año said.
The Manila Regional Trial Court has recently issued a warrant of arrest against Joma and 36 of his alleged co-conspirators in the Inopacan massacre, a deadly purge of CPP/NPA members accused by the party of various offenses. The remains of the victims were discovered in a mass grave in Inopacan, Leyte in 2006.
The DILG chief also called Sison a coward for hiding from the charges against him in a foreign country and living there like a king.
“Duwag ka (You are a coward), Joma. Now that you are in the last few years of your life, do something right for a change, own up to your sins against the Filipino people and face the charges against you and give justice to the victims of the Inopacan massacre, among many others,” he says.
The Philippine National Police (PNP), he said, is also closely coordinating with the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) for the issuance of a red notice for Sison’s arrest, which serves as a valid request for provisional arrest.
“We have referred the warrant issued by the Manila Regional Trial Court to Interpol for publication of a red notice which is defined as a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action,” he says.
“Once the Interpol publishes a red notice, Joma Sison becomes a wanted man all over the world,” he adds.
Año said that while there is no bilateral extradition treaty between the Philippines and the Netherlands, it is possible to explore the possibility of transmitting this as a request to the Dutch government for mutual legal assistance (MLA) on criminal matters.
According to the DILG chief, although Sison has been granted refugee status in The Netherlands due to alleged political persecution in the Philippines, “the grounds for the grant of such refugee status to Joma Sison no longer exist and should, therefore, be revoked.”
He said the government will seek a special arrangement with the Dutch government for the extradition of Joma Sison because his “refugee status” is no longer tenable because he participated in the commission of crimes and other criminal acts, as determined by the Regional Trial Court that renders him effectively ineligible.
The DILG Secretary also stressed that the communist leader continues to direct his terrorist forces in the country from his self-imposed exile in the Netherlands through public statements and issuances, such as directing the New People’s Army to kill and plunder in the countryside.
“This fact has been established when the United States, the European Union, and the Duterte administration declared the CPP/NPA as a terrorist organization,” he said.
In 1992, The Netherlands recognized Joma as a “political refugee” based on his alleged persecution by the Marcos regime.
He says that the government is now actively working with the European Union to have Sison’s so-called refugee status in The Netherlands revoked as soon as possible. The Netherlands is part of the European Union.
“Wala nang rason pa para kanlungin pa ng Netherlands si Joma dahil ang Pilipinas at ang EU mismo kung saan kasapi ang Netherlands ay nagsasabing isang terrorist organization ang CPP na pinamumunuan ni Sison. Ang ibig sabihin si Sison ay isang terorista na hindi kailangan binibigyang proteksyon ng kahit sino mang gobyerno (There is no longer a reason why the Netherlands should provide protection to Joma because the Philippines and the EU, to which the Netherlands is a member, say that the CPP led by Joma is a terrorist organization which does not need protection from any government),” he stressed.
Año said initial talks with the EU deputy ambassador were positive, with the latter committing to help the Philippine government in this matter.
At the same time, the DILG and the PNP have teamed up with the Department of Justice, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Department of Foreign Affairs to arrest all the others who were found to be responsible for the Inopacan massacre.
Aside from Sison, among those included in the warrant of arrest issued by the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 32 are National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) senior adviser Luis Jalandoni, communist leaders Rodolfo Salas and Leo Velasco, and Sison’s wife, Juliet.
“Sumisikip na ang mundo mo, Joma. Malapit na ang araw ng pagtutuos para sa mga kasalanang ginawa mo sa ating bansa at sa mga biktima ng Inopacan massacre (Your world is getting smaller, Joma. The day of reckoning for you to pay for your sins to the country and the victims of the Inopacan massacre is nearing),” Año said. (PR)