< politics >
I'm quite tentative to lay down my two cents on Jose Maria Sison, who was arrested at the Netherlands and is now presently under custody by The Hague. The way I see it, talking about Joma is in effect talking about Communism in the Philippines: you can't separate one from another. The problem is further compounded by the immature discourse in Philippine politics: if you talk about Communism (in the colloquial sense), much less Joma, you're either "pro-Communist" or "anti-Communist." There are gray areas, but even the shade of your gray defines your standpoint. Moreso if that shade has a hint of red. My Political Science professors would probably kill me for this, but if you put Communism in the mix of our chaotic multiparty system, everything becomes polarized.
Jose Maria Sison - the founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People's Army - was arrested at his home in Utrecht four days ago, August 28. Apparently, while he was on self-exile in the Netherlands, Joma ordered the "execution" of two "enemies of the revolution:" Romulo Kintanar in 2003 and Arturo Tabara in 2006. The NPA took responsibility for the murders of both men: anyone acquainted with the history of Communism in the Philippines would know of the schism between "reaffirmists" and "rejectionists" somewhere around the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. Kintanar and Tabara broke away from the CPP, which explains in part why they were "executed," if there is truth to the claim.
Now if only it stopped there, then it would be a simple problem of trying the man at The Hague: under Dutch law, it is a crime to order a murder overseas while on Dutch soil. Since we don't have extradition treaties with the Dutch, it wouldn't even be a problem. But we're talking about Joma: a figurehead of dissent, the man at the forefront of the longest Communist protracted revolution in the history of civilization. We're not talking about small fry, but big fish.
At this point, though, whatever "trial" there is in the court of public opinion is irrelevant in the court where Joma faces trial. It's the same thing with the idea of the "parliament of the streets:" whatever "privilege speeches" are made in Mendiola do not echo in the halls of the Batasan. I'm not depriving militant groups of their right to protest and rally against Joma's arrest: by all means, they are entitled to do so. Say what you want about the justice system, but "guilt" and "innocence" are things that the justice system determines. Basically, this means due process. Yes, it's quite ironic.
Can Joma or his militant supporters trust the due process of law, then? If you spend a quarter century or so fighting the law, you can say a lot about the sorry state of the law. But for the whole theory of the Communist ideology, Joma is in one of those unflattering and uncompromising positions of having to do things well within the bounds of the law: not outside of it, not even at the very margins. Like I said before, you can't talk about Communism without talking about Joma, so this is more than just a murder trial. It is, in my view, a defense of Communism.
Interestingly enough, the Permanent People's Tribunal has deemed the Arroyo administration guilty for "crimes against humanity." Joma now finds himself on the same position as Arroyo, but in a real, honest-to-goodness court. The only "political motivation" here is not of the Philippine government pulling some strings to arrest Joma, but the motivation of the question of whether or not the ideology can stand up to the trials of right and wrong that it did not determine.
This is not just Joma's double-murder trial. This is a trial of his revolution.
Posted at Saturday, September 01, 2007 by marocharim