A MANILA trial court has ordered the arrest of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison, his wife and 36 other members of the organization for murder.
In an arrest warrant dated Aug. 28, Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina did not recommend bail. The communist leaders were charged for the murder of 15 people in the so-called Inopacan massacre more than three decades ago.
Also ordered arrested were National Democratic Front of the Philippines senior adviser Luis Jalandoni, communist leaders Rodolfo Salas and Leo Velasco as well as Mr. Sison’s wife Juliet.
The case stemmed from the purges in Leyte at the height of the communist insurgency in the 1980s. They were charged with murder after skeletons of alleged victims were discovered in a mass grave in Leyte province in central Philippines.
In a social media post, Mr. Sison said the list of accused was “utterly stupid and obviously fabricated.”
“It includes the names of those in prison at the time of the alleged massacre. It also includes those who are already dead for various health reasons,” said Mr. Sison, who is in self-exile in The Netherlands.
Mr. Sison noted that at the time of the supposed massacre, he was under detention by the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos.
He also said news of the charges was meant to take away the public’s attention from the release of about 2,000 prisoners convicted of heinous crimes.
Mr. Sison was “welcome to come home” to face the charges. “Mr. Sison should unchain himself from his exile and face the music. His illusive if not illusory dream of wresting political power from the present dispensation should give way to a principled and courageous stand to face trial.” — Vann Marlo M. Villegas