Philippines to Ask Dutch to Expel Communist Leader

MANILA ~ The Philippines is to ask the Dutch government to expel a communist rebel leader in the hope of putting him on trial for murder, a senior official said on Thursday.

Dutch prosecutors dropped a probe into allegations that Jose Maria Sison had ordered political killings against former comrades in the Philippines’ 40-year-long Maoist insurgency.

On Thursday a spokesman for Philippine President Gloria Arroyo said the government was looking at ways to get Sison kicked out of the Netherlands so he could be tried by Manila.

“We will look into our laws and their laws to find ways to have Sison expelled from the Netherlands and back into the country,” Norberto Gonzales told reporters here.

Gonzales added that since the two countries have no extradition treaty they would have to look at other avenues.

Former university professor Sison, now 70, fled to Utrecht and applied for political asylum in 1987.

He has rejected Manila’s allegations that he continued to direct the Maoist rebellion in the Philippines from his Dutch exile. Instead he styles himself as adviser to the leftist group in now moribund peace talks with Manila.

Sison was arrested in 2007 as part of a Dutch probe into extra-judicial killings in the Philippines.

His assets and his pension remain frozen as a consequence of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its New People’s Army (NPA) having been designated “terrorist organizations” by the European Union.

Though his asylum request had earlier been denied, the Hague has been reluctant to send him back to the Philippines, which until recently had the death penalty in its statutes.

Gonzales said that with capital punishment no longer in force in the Philippines, “there should be no more reason for the Dutch government not to cooperate with us on this matter.”

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