Communist leader Jose Maria Sison on Thursday dismissed the government’s decision to include him and his wife and the rest of the 19-member central committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines in a list of terrorists.
In a statement, Sison said he and his wife Julieta are “not at all bothered” by their designation as terrorists by the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC).
“To start with, the list of names in the designation appears to be arbitrary, dubious and even contradictory or inconsistent with the various public and purportedly personal statements even of its own NTF-ELCAC (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict) evil minions,” Sison said in a statement issued from The Netherlands, where he is in self-exile.
“Moreover, it includes mostly publicly known political consultants of the NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines) negotiating panel in the peace negotiations with the Manila government who are all entitled to the protection of the GRP-NDFP Joint Agreement of Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and other binding bilateral agreements.”
Kapatid spokesperson Fides Lim, wife of peace consultant Vicente Ladlad who was among the 19 individuals designated by the ATC, said her husband was an activist and not a terrorist.
“My husband Vicente Ladlad is not a terrorist or a criminal. His long record of activism, which includes political imprisonment for standing for country and people, is an open book,” she said in a statement.
For his part, Renato Reyes, secretary general of the leftist Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), said it was absurd to tag peace negotiators as terrorists, adding this would hurt future peace talks.
“All of this was done without due process. It is clear that the anti-terror law is easily abused as seen from this kind of arbitrary designation,” Reyes said.
A member of the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives denounced the ATC list.
“The designation of 19 individuals alleged to be part of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines, displays clearly how terror-listing can be extremely arbitrary and devoid of due process, and how the Anti-Terror Council can easily abuse its power,” said Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite.
“No evidence is presented, no clear basis is presented, nor is there a clear statement of what specific crimes were committed," Gaite said.
Gaite said the resolution "is truly illustrative of how they would be wielding the Anti-Terror Law to attack government critics, activists, and even ordinary citizens."
He added that the ATC resolution gives merit to the position of petitioners questioning the legality of the Anti-Terrorism Law.