Communist leader’s arrest will not stop revolution – Sison
LUCENA CITY – Jose Ma. Sison, exiled Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder, on Sunday said the arrest of CPP head Benito Tiamzon, his wife Wilma Austria, and five other rebel leaders in Cebu on Saturday will not cripple the revolutionary movement.
“When I was arrested, tortured and imprisoned by Marcos, the armed revolution did not stop but continued to grow because the root causes of the armed revolution were not at all solved by capture and detention,” Sison said in an interview with the Inquirer through Facebook.
Sison was arrested by military operatives in November 1977 and detained until his release in March 1986. During his incarceration, he suffered worst forms of physical and mental torture under the hands of his captors, he said.
Sison maintained that the arrest of Tiamzon, Austria, and five other still unidentified rebel leaders was illegal.
The seven rebels, all alleged members of the CPP central committee, were captured on Saturday in Carcar City, south of Cebu City.
The Tiamzons were served with arrest warrants for frustrated murder (criminal case 4702) and murder (criminal case number 4703) that had been pending before the Regional Trial Court Branch 31 in Laoang, Northern Samar.
According to military dossier, Tiamzon is the current head of the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), while Austria is also a top-ranked CPP central committee member and finance officer.
“Whatever are their positions in the CPP, they are covered and protected by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig). They are holders of the Document of Identification under Jasig and acknowledged by the other negotiating party,” Sison argued.
Luis Jalandoni, National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace panel chief, also condemned the arrest of the Tiamzon couple and demanded their immediate release.
In a statement, Jalandoni insisted that Tiamzon and Austria are both Jasig card holders as NDFP “peace consultant” in the peace talks.
Jalandoni said Austria is holder of NDFP Document of Identification ND978226 under her real name “Wilma Austria” while Tiamzon is the holder of NDFP Document of Identification ND 978227 under the assumed name “Crising Banaag.”
Both Tiamzon and Austria are holders of Letter of Acknowledgment signed by then-government peace panel chairman Silvestre H. Bello III, said Jalandoni.
Under Jasig, signed in 1995 by representatives from NDFP and the government, the members, consultants and staff of the NDFP who are part of the negotiating team are granted immunity from arrest, detention and provide safety guarantees to prevent any incident that may jeopardize the peace negotiation.
The NDFP, the CPP political arm, had been engaged in peace negotiation with the government for the past 27 years. But the on-and-off peace talks have not moved beyond minor agreements.
Sison said: “It would be a pity if (President) Aquino is more interested in imprisoning a few NDFP consultants and prejudicing the peace negotiations by violating existing agreements like the Jasig.”
He said that if the Aquino administration no longer respects the Jasig, signed and approved mutually by NDFP and the government, “then Aquino becomes responsible for killing the peace negotiations.”
Sison said the rationale behind giving protection to peace consultants like Tiamzon and Austria “is to make the negotiations and agreements more effective.”
He said the forthcoming peace talks in Oslo “will be more effective” if Tiamzon and Austria, and detained rebel leader Alan Jazmines join the NDFP delegation.
Sison said the NDFP have already agreed to the proposal of the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG) to host another round of peace negotiation in the next few months.
He said the proposed resumption of the aborted negotiation will be informal at first before the holding of another round of formal talks.
But the government has yet to respond to the RNG offer.
In February 2011, the two parties met anew in Norway but again failed to reach a settlement particularly on issues over the release of detained communist rebels and long ceasefire.
Last May, the government peace panel announced the termination of the peace negotiation and put the blame on the NDFP with its preconditions and demands.
But the NDFP rebutted the government’s position that the peace negotiation has reached a dead end.
The communist group insisted that the government has not given any written notice of termination of the peace talks to the NDFP, which is the proper addressee of such notice as stipulated in the Jasig.
The military admitted that communist insurgency remains a “potent challenge” even as it reported that more than 800 rebels were “neutralized” last year.#
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