By Chito Chavez
Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año on Thursday said that Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) leader Joma Sison is “hallucinating’’ for claiming he is immune from arrest because he is a political refugee in exile.
“A criminal and a terrorist like him can never be considered a political refugee,” Año said.
The Manila Regional Trial Court issued a warrant of arrest against Joma and 36 of his co-conspirators in connection with the Inopacan massacre, a purge of communist party members accused by of various offenses.
The remains of the victims were discovered in a mass grave in Inopacan, Leyte in 2006.
Año described Sison as a coward for hiding in a foreign country and living there like a king. Sison has living in the Netherlands.
“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 said.
Año said the Philippine National Police (PNP) is closely coordinating with the international police (Interpol) for the issuance of a Red Notice, which serves as a valid request for Sison’s provisional arrest.
Año said that once the Interpol publishes a Red Notice, Sison “becomes a wanted man all over the world”.
While there is no 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.
Although Sison has been granted refugee status in The Netherlands due to alleged political persecution in the Philippines Año said “the grounds for the grant of such refugee status to Joma Sison no longer exist and should therefore be revoked.”
He stressed the government will seek a special arrangement with the Dutch government for the extradition of Sison on the grounds that 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.
The DILG chief added that Sison continues to direct his forces in the country from the Netherlands through public statements and issuances 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 Sison as a “political refugee” on the basis of his alleged persecution by the Marcos regime.
He noted 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.
“There is no reason for the Netherlands to come to Joma’s aid since the Philippines and the EU where the Netherlands is a member have branded the CPP as a terrorist organization headed by Sison. This means that Sison is a terrorist that should not be accorded with any protection by any state,” Ano said.
At the same time, the DILG and the PNP have teamed up with the Department of Justice, Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Department of Foreign Affairs in going after the others who were involved in 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.