Funny how many of those calling for the release of Joma Sison have argued their case by citing a chronology of instances wherein the founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines had found himself the victim of state harassment and politically motivated charges. There can be no denying that one President after another have tried to bring him down and seek his defeat, many times through means that flout due process principles and human rights values. For these instances, Sison has every right to seek recompense.
The onus of Sison’s supporters, however, is not simply to prove that a pattern exists. For indeed, that’s all they’ve been doing. The burden is for them to prove that this latest arrest fits into the pattern.
From the looks of it, it doesn’t. The bare-bones truth is that the case leading to this arrest was filed by two grieving widows who simply wanted justice for the deaths of their husbands. No mud has been slung on these women because no mud can be slung. They are not assets of the military, they do not work for the government, they have for the past several years lived simple and quiet lives. Joy Kintanar’s short statement is level-headed and devoid of the frothing-in-the-mouth anti-communist rhetoric that Sison’s supporters would have pounced upon: due process for Joma, truth, justice for Rolly. No comment on the peace process, no denouncing of the evils of communism and the Marxist-Leninst-Maoist ideology of the National Democratic Front.
So GMA rode on the issue. She was beside herself with glee, as though probable cause of Joma’s complicity in the murders of Rolly Kintanar and Art Tabara would exculpate her from the thousands of brazen extra-judicial killings against Bayan Muna members. Everyone with a modicum of logic and good sense should hate her by now. I know I do. But this doesn’t detract from the legitimacy of the quest for justice of Joy Kintanar and Inca Tabara.
The formulation is simple. It stands on no other ideology but simple justice and basic truth. Presidents who order the killings and disappearances of activists and journalists should be punished to the full extent of their criminal responsibility. Leaders of rebel groups who order the assassination of former members of their organization (or for that matter, orchestrate the murder and torture of comrades suspected to be deep penetration agents), should be punished to the full extent of their criminal responsibility.
People accused of murder should face trial. People proven to have murdered should have their ass hauled to jail.
Justice for Karen Empeno. Justice for Sheryl Cadapan. Justice for Jay Burgos. Justice for Rolly Kintanar. Justice for Art Tabara. Justice for the nameless, faceless victims of Kahos, Missing Link, Cadena de Amor.
What’s so complicated about that?