Joma to use Philippine passport in planned visit to homeland

JOSE MARIA SISON will use a Philippine passport if his planned return to the Philippines happens under the incoming Rodrigo Duterte government.

Sison said he intends to visit the Philippines as an act of goodwill in July or August if Duterte has already released the more than 500 political prisoners and that the formal talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) are going to be resumed.

“I have never lost my Filipino citizenship.  My Philippine passport was merely cancelled in 1988,” Sison said in an online interview.

The NDFP chief political consultant said he did not flee from the Philippines but was actually on a global university lecture tour starting in September 1986.  He covered the Asia-Pacific region up to January 1987.

He was in The Netherlands to start his European tour when the Armed Forces of the Philippines charged him with subversion crimes and the Corazon Aquino government cancelled his passport.

Sison said both moves compelled him to seek asylum in The Netherlands.

“Only the idiots and psywar agents say that I am on self-exile or fled from any liability in the Philippines,” Sison said.

Old passport

Sison said he was able to get a new Philippine passport in 1998 from then President Fidel Ramos and House of Representatives Speaker Jose de Venecia.

Sison was set to visit the Philippines to participate in a public ceremony for the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) by the GPH and the NDFP.

The CARHRIHL is the first of four substantive agenda under the 1992 GPH-NDFP The Hague Joint Declaration that includes social and economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms, and cessation of hostilities and disposition of forces.

“My lawyer Atty. Romeo T. Capulong (now deceased) and I made sure (then) that my entry to the Philippines was explicitly acknowledged by the Manila government,” Sison said.

Sison also did not want to give up his status as a recognized political refugee under the Geneva Convention on Refugees as well as the protection of the European Convention on Human Rights Against Torture and Inhumane and Degrading Treatment.

Sison was never able to use the passport, however, because the Ramos government was delayed in asking the Dutch government to give him a return visa to the European country.

Duterte has repeatedly announced his desire for his former university professor (Sison) to visit the Philippines, going as far as saying he wants Sison’s visit to happen right after he is sworn to the presidency on June 30.

The president-elect also said he will issue Sison a safe conduct pass and prepare for his accommodations while in the Philippines.

Duterte’s appointed chief negotiator with the NDFP, Silvestre Bello III, told Kodao he is willing to recommend that Sison’s old passport be renewed.

“It will be good for the peace process,” Bello said.

Other travel documents

But even without a new GPH passport, Sison said he can avail of three otherr travel documents that would allow him to travel outside of The Netherlands.

“I have a passport from the People’s Democratic Republic of the Philippines, issued by the NDFP as consular authority,” Sison said.

The NDFP passport can be used to enter and exit from the territory of the People’s Democratic Republic of the Philippines (PDRP), Sison said.

The PDRP is the government that the NDFP has reportedly established in areas under the control of its allied organizations, principally the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (NPA).

Sison said he also holds a Document of Identifcation under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) that should allow him to travel to the Philippines with the GPH and the NDFP co-ensuring his safety and immunity from arrest and detention.

The JASIG was signed by the GPH and NDFP in The Netherlands on February 24, 1995.

Lastly, Sison repeatedly avails of laissez passer from the Dutch government that he uses in his travels around Europe for the purpose of peace negotiations.

laissez-passer (French for let pass) is usually issued by national governments or international organizations, such as the United Nations, to assure other governments that the bearer may return to the issuing country.

Risky trip

Sison said he is willing to undertake the risks in visiting his homeland.

“For the sake of the political prisoners, I am willing to undertake any risk just like Duterte does when he facilitates the release of the prisoners of war of the NPA without the benefit of SOMO (Suspension of Military Operations) and Suspension of Polices Operations (SOPO) orders (from the GPH),” Sison said.

Duterte has repeatedly facilitated the release of GPH soldiers and police officers who were captured by the NPA.

While in the Philippines, Sison said he would personally thank Duterte for releasing the political prisoners and his other acts of goodwill.

He said he would also attend the premiere of the film “Tibak”.

“The film is about Kabataang Makabayan, of which he (Duterte) and I were members,” Sison said. # (Report and photo by Raymund B. Villanueva)