By ANTHONY IAN CRUZ
Nov. 22, 2007
A Dutch court has stopped criminal investigation against Jose Ma. Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines, citing the absence of “any serious evidence” against the exiled rebel leader.
Judge Commissioner C. M. Derijks in a decision dated Nov. 21 wrote that “up to the highest instance (Dutch Court of Appeals), it has been decided that from the current criminal dossier no serious evidence against the suspect can be drawn.”
“The prosecutor has in no way provided information whether continuation of the criminal pre-investigation would be able to lead to another judgment on this point,” he said.
The case accused Sison, now the chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front (NDF) in peace negotiations with Manila, of masterminding the murders of former rebels Romulo Kintanar and Arturo Tabara.
Sison was arrested on Aug. 28 in Utrecht but was ordered released by the Dutch district court on Sept. 13. Prosecutors appealed the ruling before the Court of Appeals and were also rejected.
“The Court of Appeals – concisely and in a business-like way presented – decided that given the current status of the investigation there are no serious objections or incriminating evidence and moreover there is the question whether the defense can fully exercise its rights of cross examination,” said Derijks.
Romeo Capulong, Sison’s lead counsel in the Philippines, said that “the decisions favoring Sison as handed down by the court of the investigative judge, the district court of The Hague and the Dutch Court of Appeals are big blows to the Arroyo government which is behind Sison’s arrest and prosecution.”
Capulong said that “the false charges are now legally untenable and betray the political nature of the charges.”
“In other words, the Dutch police who arrested Sison and raided the NDF office and several houses, and the prosecutors who pursued the case were merely acting on orders of the Dutch government that has been asked by the Arroyo government to pin down Sison,” Capulong said.
“Just like in the Philippines, the Dutch prosecutors are under the justice ministry and the cabinet. They are also vulnerable to political pressures and may have prosecuted Sison merely on orders of their superiors who accommodated the request from Manila,” said Capulong.