PNP turns to INTERPOL, Dutch gov't for Joma Sison's arrest

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 10) — The government is seeking the help of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and the Netherlands for the arrest of communist leader Jose Maria Sison, the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief said in a media briefing Tuesday.

Director General Oscar Albayalde said the Philippine Center on Transnational Crime is now "making representation" wih INTERPOL for the issuance of a Red Notice for Sison, who has been on self-exile in the Netherlands for the longest time. A Red Notice would request all law enforcement authorities worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a fugitive, pending extradition, surrender, or other similar legal actions.

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Sison, founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), applied for political asylum in the Netherlands in 1988. His request was highly contested but was eventually approved in 1995. Albayalde said the PNP and the Armed Forces are working on requesting the Dutch government to strip Sison of his refugee status.

"Para mawala na nga yung parang privelege ni Sison doon na siya ay binigyan ng asylum so once na nawala yun and we have the Red Notice then he can be arrested there," Albayalde said.

[Translation: The goal is to strip Sison of asylum privilege. Once that is done and we have the Red Notice then he can be arrested there.]

The Manila Regional Trial Court in August ordered the arrest of Sison and 37 others for 15 counts of murder. This is in connection with the discovery of a mass grave in Inopacan town, Leyte in 2006. The skeletal remains supposedly belonged to members of the CPP and its armed wing New People's Army, who were allegedly killed by their comrades in 1985 on suspicion that they were military informants.

Sison has maintained the story as "fake" and that the Arroyo administration collected bones from various cemeteries to frame the communist rebels for murder. He also accused President Rodrigo Duterte of using the case to justify a mass arrest of his opponents. Malacañang urged Sison to return to the country to face trial.

Sison said he is protected by the Geneva Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights, citing Section 3 which states, "No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

"The Dutch government and EU (European Union) will not violate international law just to accommodate a tyrant and mass murderer like Duterte," Sison said in a Facebook post in response to reports Interior Secretary Eduardo Año is also asking the EU to have him extradited.

The Netherlands served as third party negotiator in peace talks between the government and communist rebels who have waged a five-decade armed insurgency. Duterte walked away from the on-off negotiations in 2017 as both sides accused each other of ceasefire violations. The government now considers communist rebels as terrorists, but the move to formalize this tag is still pending in a local court.