Carlo's Think Pieces

Reflections of a Filipino in the Netherlands

Dutch arrested Joma Sison based on criminal case alone

Posted by butalidnl on 2 September 2007

When Dutch police arrested Joma Sison on 28 August, many people reacted by saying that it was all the result of the pressure by the Philippine government on the Dutch government. But this is done obviously by persons who do not understand a thing about how the Dutch government works, and thus assume that it works just like that of the Philippine government. Well, this is simply not true.

The Dutch government has its own reasons for doing the things that it does, and it really does not matter what the Philippine government has to say about it. After all, it had tolerated the presence of Joma Sison in the Netherlands for the past 20 years. For the Dutch authorities, the latest arrest of Sison for ordering the murders of Kintanar and Tabara is a simple criminal case. It is against Dutch law to order the murders of people, whether or not these murders take place within the country or outside. For them, this is not a terrorist act, but rather a criminal one.

To those Filipinos who ask why is it only now that Joma is being put in jail in the Netherlands, the answer is simple – the crimes in question have been committed relatively recently (2002 and 2004), and it took some time to gather sufficient evidence.

Those Filipinos who say that the Plaza Miranda bombing and the internal purges of the 1980s would be brought up in the trial of Joma will be disappointed when they find out that the Dutch courts will refuse to hear any of those charges. For the Dutch courts, these crimes were done in the Philippines, and are thus irrelevant to the case.

For the murder case to have been put to the Dutch courts in the first place attests to the fact that the Dutch police have uncovered enough evidence to back the charges. The Dutch police and justice authorities do not do things on the basis of simple accusations put forward by other governments. Recent cases of Dutch (and other EU countries) refusing to turn over information and suspects that the US requested (in its fight against terrorism) demonstrate this fact.

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