By Genalyn Kabiling
The government is considering seeking the help of the Netherlands to extradite communist leader Jose Maria Sison to face murder charges in the Philippines.
A local court recently ordered the arrest of Sison, currently living in exile in the Netherlands, in connection with the so-called Inopacan massacre more than three decades ago.
“Yes, why not? If the Netherland government allows it, eh nasa sa kanila rin iyon,” Panelo said during the Palace press briefing when asked if the government can extradite Sison and will coordinate with the Dutch government about his repatriation.
Panelo also dismissed Sison’s allegations that the arrest warrant was politically motivated and that he supposedly could not be extradited.
“He always says that naman, eh. Ang problema mayroon na siyang warrant, so moot and academic lahat ng mga sinasabi niya [He always says that. The problem is he faces a warrant so everything he says is moot and academic],” he said.
“They were given the opportunity to rebut the evidence submitted before the court, or prior to that, the preliminary investigation. Prosecutors found probable cause filed before the Regional Trial Court and the Court finds probable cause, oh eh papaano pa,” he added.
He urged anew Sison to come home and face the music after the court issued an arrest warrant against him.
“But until such time as he faces the music, may problema siya. He should unchain himself from that illusionary dream of ousting the present dispensation. Fifty years plus na iyon (That’s already 50 years plus),” he said.
A Manila court recently ordered the arrest of Sison, his wife, and 36 other members of the organization for murder. No bail was reportedly recommended. The rebel leaders have been charged for the murder of several people during the mass pruning by the communist group in Leyte in the 1980s.
Malacañang had earlier said Sison is welcome to come home to avail of his constitutional right to confront his accusers and prepare for his defense. Panelo assured that Sison and the others will have their day in court.
“The law is no respecter of any transgressor and prosecution therefor must proceed in accordance thereof. Mr. Sison, et al. will have their day in court,” he added.