NDFP requests Norwegian government to help recover files confiscated by Dutch police

NDFP Monitoring Committee requests Royal Norwegian Government
to help recover files confiscated by Dutch police

NDFP Monitoring Committee

The chairman of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Monitoring Committee (MC) Fidel V. Agcaoili has written the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG) in Oslo, Norway requesting its assistance in recovering the various files and records the Dutch police confiscated last 28 August 2007 during their raid of the office of the NDFP and the arrest of NDFP chief political consultant Prof. Jose Ma. Sison.

NDFP Monitoring Committee requests Royal Norwegian Government
to help recover files confiscated by Dutch police

NDFP Monitoring Committee

The chairman of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Monitoring Committee (MC) Fidel V. Agcaoili has written the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG) in Oslo, Norway requesting its assistance in recovering the various files and records the Dutch police confiscated last 28 August 2007 during their raid of the office of the NDFP and the arrest of NDFP chief political consultant Prof. Jose Ma. Sison.

"We opted to inform the RNG of what happened because it stands as the Third Party Facilitator in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations and has been the main supporter of the work of the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) of which the NDFP-MC is a part. It is in the interest of the RNG to ensure that the work of the NDFP-MC is not impeded by actions of foreign governments that are attempting to force the NDFP to capitulate across the negotiating table through relentless persecution of Prof. Sison," he said.

The Dutch police raided the office of the NDFP as well as the houses of Luis Jalandoni and Coni Ledesma, NDFP Negotiating Panel Chairperson and Member; Juliet de Lima, Panel Member; Dan Borjal, Political Consultant; Ruth de Leon, Head Panel Secretariat; and Aldo Gonzalez and Joselito Baleva, volunteers in the NDFP International Office. Based on reports, they were brusquely interrogated and forbidden from moving around their homes while the rest of the premises were being ransacked. Ms. Ledesma was even taken to the police station for questioning.

All computers, laptops, external disks, USB sticks, CDs, diskettes, cameras and MP3s players were seized, along with voluminous documents and papers including Jalandoni's complete files on the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations from 1986 to the end of 2004.

Agcaoili said that the room that he uses whenever he is in the Netherlands was also broken into, ransacked, and its contents pillaged. Included in the confiscated documents were the complete set of complaint forms submitted to the JMC against the NDFP and the GRP, as well as written communications between the NDFP-MC and the NDFP Joint Secretariat (JS), and documents of the NDFP-MC. A box of diskettes and CDs containing documents pertaining to the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations and the work of the JMC were also taken.

"These actions of the Dutch police have greatly disrupted the operations of the NDFP-MC, and have caused great inconvenience in our work, not to mention compromising efforts to secure justice for the thousands of human rights victims who have placed their trust in the mechanism of the NDFP-MC for the redress of their grievances," he said.

Agcaoili maintained that all the seized digital files (computers, laptops, external disks, diskettes, USB sticks, CDs, cameras and MP3s) documents and papers have no connection whatsoever to the charge against Prof. Sison. Sison himself was released last September 13 after the Dutch District Court in The Hague declared that there was no sufficient and credible evidence connecting him to the alleged murders in the Philippines. Agcaoili said that the Dutch prosecutor's office went on a fishing expedition when it authorized the raids of the NDFP office and the houses of the NDFP staff and volunteers.

“The searches and confiscations were conducted without the residents being allowed to see the actual operations because they were made to stay in one place. None of the police showed any valid warrants. One warrant did not even have a date. All did not contain any specifications on what to look for. When they carted off their loot, the police didn't give a list of what they confiscated to the residents to make sure that no materials would be planted or manufactured afterwards and then attributed to the residents. These actions of the police violated the residents' fundamental rights to privacy, due process and against self-incrimination which are universally recognized and accepted,” he said.

Agcaoili expressed hope that the Royal Norwegian Government will exercise its friendly relations with the Dutch Government to support the NDFP's demand that all the confiscated materials be immediately returned.

"We will welcome any action that the RNG would deem appropriate to take in helping recover the files. These files and all other materials rightfully belong to the NDFP or the RNG as the main supporter of the work of the JMC and we fail to see what interest they hold for the Dutch Government especially since their own court has declared that it has found no sufficient basis to continue keeping Prof. Sison under detention." he concluded.

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