By Professor JOSE MARIA SISON
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
We wish to clarify the prejudicial questions that have arisen from the actions undertaken by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the US government to intimidate and pressure the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), obstruct and possibly to scuttle the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. At the same time, we wish to cite the proposals of the NDFP to resolve said prejudicial questions. We also anticipate that the Filipino people and revolutionary forces represented by the NDFP will raise the level of their resistance against intimidation and repression.
The NDFP has raised four prejudicial questions and has repeatedly declared that these must be resolved before the formal talks in the GRP-NDFP negotiations can be resumed.
The prejudicial questions pertain to: 1. the "terrorist" listing of the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army and the NDFP chief political consultant by the US and other governments, 2. the attempts of the GRP to use the "terrorist" listing to intimidate the NDFP and pressure it to capitulate through a "final peace agreement" or a "prolonged ceasefire" one-sidedly decided by the GRP, 3. the attempts of GRP personnel to intimidate and assassinate the NDFP chief political consultant, the senior legal adviser and other consultants of the NDFP, and 4. the continuing failure of GRP to indemnify the victims of human rights violations under the Marcos regime.
- "Terrorist" listing. The GRP connived with the US in November 2001 and August 2002 to designate the CPP/NPA and the NDFP chief political consultant as "foreign terrorists" since August 2002. Through the late Foreign Secretary Blas Ople, it openly campaigned for the "terrorist" listing of the same by the Council of the European Union.
The "terrorist" listing violates the principles of national sovereignty and noncapitulation in The Hague Joint Declaration (THJD), the guarantees for duly-authorized panelists, consultants, staffers and others in The Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and the Hernandez political offense doctrine of simple rebellion and basic democratic rights enshrined in the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).
- Preconditioning and Pressure. The GRP and the US have repeatedly declared publicly that the delisting of the CPP/NPA and the NDFP chief political consultant would occur only after the capitulation of the NDFP. Through Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo and US ambassador Francis Ricciardone, the two governments have dueted in saying that the CPP/NPA must first cease the armed revolution and have demanded that the revolutionary forces and people stop resisting oppression and exploitation.
The GRP has gone to the extent of stating that the US has the sovereign right to trample on the national sovereignty of the Filipino people and all the agreements done by the GRP and NDFP. It has blatantly used the "terrorist" listing by the US, the European Council and other governments to intimidate the NDFP panelists, consultants and staffers, pressure the NDFP to capitulate and to precondition the resumption of formal talks with the capitulation of the NDFP.
- Acts of Intimidation and assassination. The NDFP chief political consultant has been subjected to the most brazen acts of human rights violations, including deprivation of the essential needs of human existence and the right to due process despite what amounts to criminal sanctions. Death threats have been made against him by the GRP national security adviser Norberto Gonzalez and by a Bangkok-based organization of the US special forces.
Now, the acts of intimidation and assassination are already extended to other NDFP consultants. Senior legal adviser Romeo T. Capulong has been the target of two assassination attempts. Other consultants have noticed increased surveillance on them. The office of the NDFP section of the Joint Monitoring Committee has not been established in Utrecht because of false "terrorist" presumptions of the European Council, Dutch and other European governments against the entire NDFP.
- Indemnification of the Plaintiffs in Human Rights Case Against Marcos. The continuing failure of the GRP to fulfill its obligation under CARHRIHL to indemnify the nearly 10,000 successful class and individual plaintiffs in the US human rights litigation against the Marcos estate is prejudicial to the continuance of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. The GRP has been unjust to these victims of human rights violations by preventing them from seeking justice in the Philippines and now by trying to rob them of their indemnification.
Resolving the prejudicial questions
- The least that the GRP must do in order to help pave the way for the resumption of formal talks in the peace negotiations is to agree with the NDFP in reaffirming The Hague Joint Declaration, JASIG, CARHRIHL and the Oslo Statement I and Oslo Statement II in condemnation of, in opposition to or in relation to the "terrorist" listing by the US and other governments in 2002 and thereafter.
The GRP must in fact comply with the existing agreements with the NDFP and must continue to pursue the effective measures required by the Oslo Statement I and Oslo Statement II in order to overcome the implications and consequences of the "terrorist" listing which are adverse to the continuity of the peace negotiations.
- The GRP must cease forthwith to insult the NDFP by demanding the capitulation of the NDFP in any form or manner. After the resumption of formal talks in accordance with the immediately preceding No.1 above, the GRP and NDFP must proceed to discuss and negotiate item No.2 on social and economic reforms in the substantive agenda and accelerate the work of the Joint Monitoring Committee that has been created under CARHRIHL.
Subsequently, the GRP and NDFP principals can appoint their respective special representatives to discuss in advance items No. 3 (political and constitutional reforms) and No. 4 (end of hostilities and disposition of forces) and to exchange proposals for accelerating the peace negotiations and defining additional reasons for holding ceasefires, without violating the existing agreements. In this regard, the third party facilitator and others are invited to provide assistance for research and socio-economic projects.
Even before item No. 4 of the substantive agenda is reached, there may a cumulative kind of ceasefire related to the following: 2.1 the investigation, trial and punishment of human rights violators among the GRP military, police and paramilitary officers and 2.2 the undertaking of mutually approved relief, rehabilitation and development projects by people's organizations in localities in accordance with the Joint Agreement in Support of Socio-Economic Projects of Private Developments and Organizations.
- The GRP principal must forthwith issue a declaration condemning the threats to and acts against the life, limb and liberty of the NDFP panelists, consultants, staffers and others and ordering the GRP military and police forces to respect the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees. The clear cases of the NDFP chief political consultant and senior legal adviser being threatened with assassination must be cited.
- As required by the CARHRIHL, the GRP must forthwith fulfill its obligation to the nearly 10,000 successful class and individual plaintiffs in the US human rights litigation against the Marcos estate. Congress must do what needs to be done in order to ensure that the victims of human rights violations under the Marcos regime receive what is due to them. Depriving them of what is due to them will outrage the people.
Futile threats against the NDFP
The worst elements of the GRP and certain foreign governments have tried to intimidate and pressure the NDFP Negotiating Panel, its consultants and staffers with the implications and consequences of the "terrorist" listing of the CPP, NPA and the NDFP chief political consultant and with the actual escalation of state terrorism in the Philippines and on a global scale under the direction of the US.
However, the NDFP has declared in defiance that the worst that such governments can do to the NDFP panelists, consultants and staffers does not even amount to a pinch on the entire revolutionary movement of the Filipino people. The persecution and martyrdom of a few vulnerable Filipinos by such governments can only inflame the revolutionary spirit of the Filipino people and drive them to intensify the armed revolution.
The Arroyo regime, which is depending too much on militarists and clerico-fascists in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, is itself in a precarious, unstable and isolated position. It is now confronted by a broad united front of opposition forces that is poised to oust it from power.
In fact, the Arroyo regime is now in the process of falling as a result of the exposure of the tapes proving that Arroyo herself had a direct hand in the commission of fraud in the 2004 elections. If necessary, the NDFP can wait for the emergence of the next regime of the GRP. The Arroyo regime is not in any position to frighten the revolutionary forces and people. By further offending them, it can only push them to intensify the people's war.
The NDFP stands firm that the GRP must comply with the existing agreements and with the just and reasonable demands of the NDFP, all in accordance with the national and democratic rights and interests of the Filipino people. The Arroyo regime can only put itself in a worse situation by running counter to the firm principled position and the just and reasonable demands of the NDFP.
It is the GRP's own lookout if it reneges on agreements it has already made with the NDFP. The crisis conditions of the Philippine ruling system and the US and world capitalist system are favorable for intensifying the Filipino people's revolutionary struggle for national liberation and democracy against the US and the local exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords.
There is no more reason for the NDFP to negotiate with the GRP if the latter does not comply with agreements already made. No amount of intimidation and bloody repression can compel the NDFP to capitulate to the GRP. Every time the GRP and other governments raise the level of intimidation and repression against the NDFP can only signal to the Filipino people and revolutionary forces the need to raise the level of resistance.
The crisis-ridden GRP can only go closer to the cliff by trying to intimidate and pressure the NDFP towards capitulation. The revolutionary people and forces represented by the NDFP are well-tempered and tested by decades of revolutionary struggle, including a long period against the Marcos fascist dictatorship. The revolutionary movement has grown in strength and advanced precisely through people's war.