The government can ask the Dutch government to send back Communist leader Jose Maria Sison to the Philippines so he can be tried for murder, Malacañang said Thursday.
The Palace made the statement after Sison claimed the arrest warrants against him over a 1985 massacre in Leyte were politically motivated.
The Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 32 ordered the arrest of Sison and 37 others who were accused in the “Inopacan massacre,” a supposed purge of 300 Communist Party of the Philippines members tagged in various offenses.
“He always says that. The problem is there is a warrant, so what he says is moot and academic,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters.
“They were given the opportunity to rebut the evidence submitted before the court, or prior to that, the preliminary investigation.”
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Sison must be hallucinating when he claimed that he was absolutely protected in his self-imposed exile in The Netherlands.
Año had previously said he had spoken to a deputy ambassador of the European Union to ask that Sison’s status as a refugee in The Netherlands be revoked so the communist leader could be extradited to the Philippines to face the charges against him.
He claimed that the European Union’s response to his request was positive, adding that the EU would cooperate with the Philippine government.
“His [Sison’s] ‘‘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, which renders him effectively ineligible, Año said.
Sison and his wife Juliet, a former communist peace negotiator, have been in self-exile in The Netherlands for nearly three decades.
Sison claims the Dutch government and the European Union will not violate the international law protecting refugees.
He was referring to a component of the 1951 Refugee Convention called non-refoulement, which allegedly protects them against returning to their home countries where they fear persecution.
But the law exempts refugees from protection if there are “reasonable grounds” to regard them as dangers to the national security of the host country or if they have been convicted of a “particularly serious crime.”
“The Dutch government and the EU will not violate international law just to accommodate a tyrant and a mass murderer like Duterte, Sison said in a statement.
Aside from the Sison couple, among those ordered arrested were Luis Jalandoni, National Democratic Front of the Philippines senior adviser; Rodolfo Salas alias Ka Bilog, former CPP chairman; Leo Velasco, and Jose Luneta, co-founder of Kabataang Makabayan and former CPP secretary-general.
The murder case against them was filed in 2006 after the skeletons of 67 alleged victims were discovered in Subang Daku Village in Inopacan town.
The court did not recommend bail for the accused.
Sison said the list of accused was “utterly stupid and obviously fabricated,” claiming it included other individuals who were jailed during the supposed massacre and several others “who are already dead for various health reasons.”
Sison claimed the bones were collected from various cemeteries by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon when he was still military chief under then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
At the time of the supposed massacre, Sison said, he was under maximum security detention and “was not in any position then to go over the head of the leadership of the CPP and revolutionary movement.”