From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jul 28): Joma Sison chides Aquino for lumping comrades with criminals
Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Ma. Sison cried foul over President Aquino’s statement lumping political detainees in the company of common criminals that he said could sabotage the resumption of the stalled peace talks.
In one part of his two-hour-15-minute State of the Nation Address, President Aquino boasted that state security and police forces have neutralized a leader of a notorious robbery and hold-up gang, notorious human rights violator and former military officer Jovito Palparan and several Muslim rebels. But he also included in the same category top CPP leaders and spouses Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria; and the slain Leoncio “Ka Parago” Pitao, Ruben Saluta and Emmanuel Bacarra, all alleged New People’s Army (NPA) leaders.
Sison said Aquino showed “muddle-headedness by mixing up revolutionaries or alleged political offenders with common criminals.”
“It shows more stupidity than ignorance about the two categories recognized in law and politics,” Sison said in an email reply to a solicited reaction by the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Sison offered an unsolicited advice to Aquino.
“He (Aquino) should avoid making malicious and foul statements against the revolutionary martyrs Ka Parago, against illegal detainees like Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria and the more than 500 political prisoners if he is at all interested in the peace process and in improving the atmosphere for peace negotiations,” said the CPP founder based in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Sison again assailed the President for not respecting the provisions of the Joint Agreement of Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), which frees from arrest the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultants and other holders of immunity pass provided by the Jasig.
He also criticized Mr. Aquino for disrespecting the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, which prohibits the filing of charges of common crimes against those alleged to be political offenders and accused of being connected to the CPP, NPA and NDFP.
“He is not interested in the advance of the peace process because he manifests gross disrespect for existing agreements solemnly made by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the NDFP,” Sison said.
He called Aquino a “lame duck president.”
“If he insists on talking and acting foolishly and criminally, the revolutionary movement can let him go down in history with the ignominy of violating solemn agreements, sabotaging peace negotiations and being addicted to systematic and gross violations of human rights of people inside and outside of prison,” Sison said.
The hope for the resumption of the peace talks between the government and NDFP was rekindled following the recent dinner meeting in Amsterdam between Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and other government officials and Sison and other exiled communist rebel leaders.
Both parties described the meeting as “bridge building” and a “good start” toward the possible resumption of the aborted peace talks.
But the NDFP demanded the release of more than 500 political prisoners before the resumption of the peace negotiation. Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles opposed the precondition.
The NDFP has been engaged in on-and-off negotiation with the government for the past 27 years. The talks have not moved beyond minor agreements. The peace negotiations have remained stalled since February 2011. The government’s refusal to release the imprisoned rebels led to the collapse of the peace talks.