José María Sison

Infobox Person
name = José María Sison

image_size =
caption =
birth_name =
birth_date = birth date and age|1939|2|8
birth_place = Cabugao, Philippines
death_date =
death_place =
death_cause =
resting_place =
resting_place_coordinates =
residence = Utrecht, Netherlands
nationality = Filipino
other_names = Joma Sison
known_for =
education =
employer =
occupation =
title =
salary =
networth =
height =
weight =
term =
predecessor =
successor =
party = Communist Party of the Philippines, New People's Army
boards =
religion =
spouse =
partner =
children =
parents =
relatives =

website = []
footnotes =

José María Sison (born February 8, 1939 in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur, Philippines) is a writer and activist who reorganized the Communist Party of the Philippines and added elements of Maoism to its philosophy. Since August 2002, he has been classified as a "person supporting terrorism" by the U.S. and the European Union. [ [ Terrorism knowledge base] ] The European Union's second highest court ruled to delist and reversed a decision by member governments to freeze assets. [ [ IHT, EU court overturns decision to freeze assets of exiled Philippine rebel, Palestinian group] ] [ [ JAVNO, EU Court Overturns Two EU Terrorist Listings] ]

Early years

A graduate of the University of the Philippines, in 1959, he studied in Indonesia, before returning to the Philippines to settle as a university professor of literature. In 1964, founded the Kabataang Makabayan or Patriotic Youth. This organization rallied Filipino youth against the Vietnam war, against the Marcos presidency and corrupt politicians.

On December 26, 1968, he formed and chaired the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), an organization founded on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought, stemming from his experience as a youth leader and labor and land reform activist. This is known as the First Great Rectification movement where Sison and other radical youth criticized the existing Party leadership and failure. The reestablished CPP set its general political line as two-stage revolution comprising national-democratic as the first stage then proceeding to the socialist revolution. On December 26, 2007, the Communist Party of the Philippines commemorated its 39th anniversary. Jose Maria Sison confirmed its birth, at Barangay Dulacac at the tri-boundary of Alaminos, Bani and Mabini, Pangasinan, where the CPP "congress of reestablishment" was held on December 26, 1968, exactly at a hut near the house of the Navarettes, the parents-in-law of Arthur Garcia, one of the CPP founders. [ [, Joma Sison recalls birth of CPP in Alaminos] ] Sison announced that communist guerillas held "cultural activities" and celebrated the 39th anniversary of the movement. [ [ Abs-Cbn Interactive, Sison: 'Cultural activities' to mark CPP 39th anniversary] ]

After this, the old Communist Party sought to eliminate and marginalize Sison. However, the reorganized CPP had a larger base and renewed political line that attracted thousands to join its ranks.On March 29, 1969, the CPP organized the New People's Army (NPA), the guerrilla-military wing of the Party, whose insurgencies around the Philippines, particularly in the northern part of the country, persist to this day. The NPA seeks to wage a peasant-worker revolutionary war in the countryside against landlords and foreign companies.

Sison was arrested during the Marcos dictatorship and was imprisoned for almost 9 years. He was subjected to several forms of torture and chained to a cot for 18 months in a solitary cell. His experience was described in "Prison & Beyond", a book of poetry released in 1986, which won the Southeast Asia WRITE award for the Philippines.


He went into exile in the Netherlands after Marcos era. This was after he had been released from imprisonment by the government of Corazón Aquino for the sake of "national reconciliation" and for his role in opposing Marcos. The release of Sison was vehemently protested by the military. It is reported that upon his release, Sison and his followers actively sought to discredit the Aquino government in the European media by speaking out on Aquino's human rights violations including the Mendiola Massacre where the military were accused of firing on unarmed peasants in Manila killing 17.

After the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo joined United States President George W. Bush, in using the event as a means of labeling Sison a terrorist.Fact|date=April 2008 Sison's asylum status went into question as a result of the move and placed him in jeopardy of not having a viable home.

He is currently Chief Political Consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. Since 1987, Sison has resided in the Netherlands where he is seeking asylum as a political refugee. A 2004 court ruling by the European Union endangers the residency status of Sison in Europe and he is expected to be expelled. He has been charged with orchestrating the 2001 murder of Congressman Rodolfo Aguinaldo in the Philippines. [cite news
last = Canlas
first = Jomar
coauthors =
title = DOJ charges Joma with 2001 Aguinaldo murder
publisher = Manila Times
date = 2005-12-07
url =
accessdate = 2007-03-17
] There has even been speculation the revocation of the death penalty in that country was in part to convince the Netherlands he could safely be deported, as he would have been facing the death penalty if convicted. [cite news
last = Toms
first = Sarah
title = Philippines' death penalty debate
publisher = BBC News
date = 2006-07-26
url =
accessdate =
quote = Joel Rocamora of the Institute for Popular Democracy said the abolition of capital punishment was unpopular and saw the change in the law as a precursor to getting Dutch authorities to deport the founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines, Jose Maria Sison. ... before Mr Sison could be returned to the Philippines from exile in the Netherlands, Mr Rocamora said the death penalty first had to be scrapped.

2008 Prophecy of PGMA downfall

On January 18, 2008, (in the Netherlands), Jose Maria Sison, Communist Party of the Philippines leader, predicted the downfall and failure to finish the term of the 14th President of the Philippines: “She [Arroyo] can fix the Constitution so she could stay on beyond 2010. But it remains to be seen if she can stay on and end her administration by 2010.” Sison submitted the reasons, to wit: "the mass organizations of the national democratic movement, the opposition parties, factions within the military and police organizations, among others, would try their best to wrest power from Mrs. Arroyo before her term ends." Also, in Davao City, unidentified groups distributed manifestos (“Hataw” and “Hatak”) and called for the ouster of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo per radio stations. [ [ Abs-Cbn Interactive, Joma says Arroyo may not finish term] ]


The International Crime Investigation Team of the Dutch National Criminal Investigation Department arrested José María Sison in Utrecht on August 28, 2007. José María Sison was arrested for his involvement from the Netherlands in three assassinations that took place in the Philippines, the murder on Romulo Kintanar in 2003, and the murders of Arturo Tabara and Stephen Ong in 2006. On the day of his arrest, José María Sison's apartment and eight apartments of his co-workers were searched by the Dutch National Criminal Investigation Department. [cite press release
title = Philippine Communist Leader Apprehended to Face a Murder Charge
publisher = Public Prosecution Service (Openbaar Ministerie)
date = 2007-08-28
url =
accessdate = 2007-08-28

Some 100 left-wing activists held a demonstration for the release of Sison, marching towards the Dutch embassy in Manila on August 30, 2007. The demonstration was ended by the police. [cite news
title = Police clash with activists protesting arrest of Philippine communist leader
work = International Herald Tribune
publisher = The Associated Press
date = 2007-08-30
url =
accessdate = 2007-08-30
] [cite news
title = Nederlandse ambassade belaagd
work = NOS News
language = Dutch
publisher = Nederlandse Omroep Stichting
date = 2007-08-30
url =
accessdate = 2007-08-30

The trial will not be held in the Philippines, but in the Netherlands, since there is no extradition request and the crimes José María Sison is accused of were committed in the Netherlands. José María Sison will appear in court in The Hague on August 31, 2007.Fact|date=June 2008Dutch lawyer, Victor Koppe said that Sison will enter a plea of not guilty during his indictment on August 31 2007, and could face the maximum penalty of life imprisonment, which in the Netherlands meant "really life"." Wikipedia defines life imprisonment in The Netherlands as "has almost always meant exactly that: The prisoner will serve their term in prison until they die"." (since 1878 when the country abolished the death penalty). Koppe added that "Under Dutch law, if you give the order in Dutch territory, you will be charged".” The only person allowed to see Sison, lawyer Michiel Pestman met with him to prepare for the indictment. [ [ Asian Journal Online, Sison to enter not guilty plea, faces life sentence--lawyer] ] Sison (detained at the Scheveningen prison in The Hague) appeared before a court at the Palace of Justice and per decision, will remain in detention for 14 more days. The judgment was made after evidences were presented by the prosecution panel. [ [ Abs-Cbn Interactive, 14 more days in detention for Sison] ]

On September 1 2007, National Democratic Front peace panel chair Luis Jalandoni confirmed that the Dutch government was "maltreating" Sison because the Court detained him in solitary confinement for 2 more weeks without access to media, newspapers, television, radio or visitors; it also denied him right to bring prescription medicines to his cell. The judge also scheduled another hearing on September 7 to rule if Sison would be released after 14 days or if his detention would be extended by another 90 days (the resolution can be appealed to the Dutch court of appeals). The place where Sison is to be jailed is the same one used by the late former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosević who was held for war crimes and corruption. Meanwhile, protests were held in Indonesia, Hong Kong, Australia, the United States and Canada, and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) feared Sison may be “"extra-judicially" transferred to the United States. CPP spokesman Gregorio Rosal said that the U.S. may detain and subject Sison to extraordinary rendition in Guantanamo Bay or some secret facility. U.S. ambassador Kristie Ann Kenney formally announced that the U.S. will extend support to the Dutch government to prosecute Sison. [ [ GMA NEWS.TV, No medicine, media for Joma; NDF chair scores Dutch gov't] ]

In New York, former United States Attorney General and international human rights lawyer Ramsey Clark called for Sison’s release and pledged assistance by joining the latter’s legal defense team headed by Jan Fermon. Clark doubted Dutch authorities’ "validity and competency," since the murder charges originated in the Philippines and had already been dismissed by the country's Supreme Court. [ [, Ex-US attorney general calls for Joma release] ]

Committee DEFEND, an International group stated that the Dutch government tortured Sison at the National Penitentiary in Scheveningen (used by the Nazis in World War II to torture Dutch resistance fighters). His wife, Julie De Lima failed to see him to give medicines and warm clothes on August 30, 2007. [ [ Abs-Cbn Interactive, Int'l group says Dutch govt torturing Joma] ] Meanwhile, counsel of Sison Romeo Capulong will question the Dutch government's jurisdiction over the issue and person alleging that the Supreme Court of the Philippines already dismissed the subject cases on July 2. [ [ GMA NEWS.TV, Joma's lawyers to zero in on jurisdiction issue] ]

On September 7 2007, the Dutch court heard defense arguments for Sison, and stated that it would issue the resolution next week on whether to extend the detention. Supporters outside the Hague District Court chanted slogans while the wife, Julie De Lima stated that they complained to the International Committee of the Red Cross. Luis Jalandoni, chairman of the National Democratic Front accused the government of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende of being "a workhorse" for Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and for the U.S. government. [ [ IHT, Dutch court hears arguments for release of Philippines communist leader accused of murder] ]

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG), a progressive bar association in New York headed by Marjorie Cohnhas, denounced the arrest Sison: “it exposes the hand of the Arroyo administration in yet another assault on the rights of the people to dissent and organize.” [ [, U.S. lawyers denounce Sison arrest, detention] ] Sison will remain in jail until Thursday, but was provided TV, radio and medication. [ [, Sison to remain in jail until Thursday next week--Bayan] ]

On September 12, 2007, counsel Edre Olalia and Public Interest Law Center Atty. Rachel Pastores, of Bayan, stated that Sison’s lawyers will appeal the Dutch court’s newly promulgated ruling extending Sison's detention for 90 days. [ [ GMA NEWS.TV, Bayan: Dutch court orders Joma detained another 90 days] ]

Sison may is liable under violations of articles 47, 48, 140, and 289, Dutch Penal Code but had not been arraigned on any charge. [ [, Sison may face any of 4 charges under Dutch penal code] ] On September 13, 2007, however, National Democratic Front chief peace negotiator Luis Jalandoni, confirmed that Sison’s lawyer Michiel Pestman said that: “"It appears that the president of the chamber made the decision and called [Pestman] to say that there’s no extension".” [ [, Sison to be released from jail--NDF] ] Malacanang's National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales stated that it was surprised by the Dutch government’s decision to release Sison from jail. [ [, Palace surprised over Sison’s release from jail] ]

Release from detention

Dutch public prosecutor's office's Wim de Bruin stated that Sison was released from jail at 10:45 a.m. on September 13. The court ruled that there was no sufficient evidence to detain on murder charges, specifically, if Sison "had a conscious and close cooperation with those in the Philippines who carried out the deed"." [ [ Abs-Cbn Interactive, Dutch govt frees Joma] ] [ [, Dutch court orders release of Philippine communist leader accused of murder] ]

On September 27, Jose Maria Sison appeared before the Hague Court of Appeal panel of 3 judges on the public prosecutor's appeal against the district court's September 13 judgment of release. The Dutch court will promulgate the verdict on October 3. [ [, Dutch court to issue verdict on CPP founder's release] ]

On September 28, 2007, Dutch Ambassador to the Philippines, Robert Brinks announced that 3 Dutch judicial officials and Dutch prosecution lawyer Wim De Bruin will visit the Philippines "later this year" to review the evidence against Jose Maria Sison. [ [ Manila Bulletin, Dutch judiciary officials to check evidence vs Joma] ] On September 29, 2007, Leung Kwok Hung aka "Long Hair"," member of the April Fifth Action vowed to support Sison. Leung was in Europe at the Inter-Parliamentary Union assembly in Geneva, Switzerland. He sits in the Hong Kong legislature as member of the Finance and House Committees, and of the Legislative Panels on Constitutional Affairs, Housing, Manpower, Transport, and on Welfare Services. [ [ GMA NEWS.TV, CPP: Hong Kong lawmaker to drum up support for Joma] ]

On October 3, 2007, the Dutch court dismissed the prosecution's appeal against the release Sison, making him free during the Dutch police investigation: "the prosecution file lacks enough concrete clues that Sison can be directly linked to the assassinations which is needed to prosecute him as a perpetrator". However, the decision never bar prosecution for murder. [ [, Dutch court upholds order to release Philippine communist leader] ] But the Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office (per spokesman Wim de Bruin) stated that it did not drop the charges against Jose Maria Sison yet, who remains a suspect. De Bruin said: "No, you have to separate the criminal investigation by the police from the investigation by the examining judge in The Hague. So the judge decided to finish the investigation but the police investigation will be continued and that means that Mr. Sison is still a suspect." [ [ Abs-cbn Interactive, Dutch prosecutor not dropping charges vs Joma] ]

The Dutch court on May 20,2008, heard Sison's appeal against the Dutch Public Prosecutors Office's request to extend its investigation until December, since the investigators arrived in the Philippines in February and interviewed witnesses. At the trial, however, the new evidence showed that there were indeed attempts to kill him, in 1999 and 2000, while Kintanar's wife, Joy, directly accused Edwin Garcia in the murder of her husband. [ [ Abs-Cbn Interactive, Sison claims govt agents tried to kill him] ] The Dutch court scheduled the promulgation on the verdict on June 10, 2008. [ [, Communist leader Sison asks Dutch court to drop case] ]

The Dutch District Court of The Hague on June 5, 2008 decided in camera “that the Public Prosecution Service may continue the prosecution of Jose Maria Sison for involvement in, among other matters, a number of murders committed in the Philippines in 2003 and 2004; that while the prosecution's case file still held insufficient evidence, the investigation was ongoing and should be given time to unfold.” [ [, Dutch court allows prosecution anew of Joma Sison] ]


1. Former Senator Jovito Salonga accused Sison of orchestrating the 1971 Plaza Miranda bombing during the Liberal Party Convention to force Marcos to suspend the writ of habeas corpus and sign Proclamation Number 1081 initiating the advent of Martial Law in the Philippines. This accusation comes from former CPP members such as Víctor Corpuz, Alex Magno and others. The Philippine National Police (PNP) filed a criminal case against Sison for the Plaza Miranda bombing. But the charges were dismissed for utter lack of evidence with the dismissal order castigating the complainant PNP for filing criminal charges based on sheer speculation.

2.He is also the primary initiator of the Second Great Rectification movement, a 'cultural revolution' which sought to reestablish the Party's Marxist-Leninist-Maoist(MLM) political line, which the revisionist factions would later turn into a bloody internal purge of fellow comrades in the CPP/NPA suspected of being DPAs (deep penetrating agents) of the military during the 1980s and the 1990s.

In the mid to late 1980s, certain CPP-NPA elements such as Víctor Corpuz, Popoy Lagman, Romulo Kintanar and Hector Mabilangan sought quick military victory against the Philippine government as mass protest against Marcos erupted in urban areas. With military victory for the CPP slower than expected, hysteria about DPAs (Deep Penetration Agents) was widespread. A purge initiated to root out DPAs resulted in the killing of thousands of people, including loyal and effective cadres of the Communist Party. Evidence of the bloody purge is beginning to surface with the discovery of mass graves in Quezon Province, Laguna, and in some parts of Mindanao. Former CPP/NPA member, Robert Francis García wrote a disturbing chronicle of the wild murders in his book, "To Suffer Thy Comrade". This initiated the Second Great Rectification movement by Sison to end the bloody purges and to criticize leaders for errors that led to extreme actions such as the Kampanyang Ahos. Some leaders who disagreed to place themselves under the Rectification movement, and discipline of the Party were later cast out on the grounds of their crimes against the 'people and the revolution'. Some of these cast out leaders were also killed, the rest are under threat of being killed.

2.a On July 4, 2008, Manila RTC Executive Judge Reynaldo Ros assumed jurisdiction over the 1,551 pages records / cases of multiple murder lawsuit against Jose Maria Sison, Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo and National Democratic Front member Luis Jalandoni after the Supreme Court's Third Division ordered a change of venue from the Hilongos, Leyte RTC Branch 18, for safety reasons. The accused were charged of executing 30 farmers in 1985, in purging military assets within the New People’s Army in Southern Leyte. 15 corpses were found in a mass grave in Inopacan, Leyte, in 2006. [ [, ‘Purging’ case vs Sison, Jalandoni, Ocampo moved to Manila] ] [ [ abs-cbnnews, Manila court set to try multiple murder case vs Joma, Satur] ]

3. He is reported to have overseen the trial of Popoy Lagman, Romulo Kintanar, Héctor Mabilangan and members of the CPP. These individuals were tried by a “people's court” composed mainly of peasants who were alleged victims of human rights violations and the families of the victims of the purging caused during these individuals command.

4. The Philippine Military lately informed newspapers and released pictures of the founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines dancing with Ara Mina in a sexy outfit and a young European girl and states the leader's life is different from those struggling in the hills. Asked to comment, Jose Ma. Sison said he was invited to a Christmas party by the local Filipino community. He also responded in a statement to the Daily Inquirer that to counter being labeled a "terrorist" by the EU and Philippine government, he is also trying to show his social side.

5. The European Union's second highest court ruled to delist Jose Maria Sison and the Stichting Al-Aqsa group from the EU terror list since the 27-nation bloc failed to respect their right when blacklisted. The Luxembourg-based Court of Justice further reversed a decision by member governments to freeze the assets of Sison and the Netherlands-based Al-Aqsa Foundation, since the EU governments failed to inform them why the assets were frozen. Dekker said that EU lawyers in Brussels can lodge any appeal. [ [ IHT, EU court overturns decision to freeze assets of exiled Philippine rebel, Palestinian group] ] [ [ JAVNO, EU Court Overturns Two EU Terrorist Listings] ] EU was also ordered to shoulder all the litigation expenses during the five-year appeal of Sison against the Dutch government and the EU. [ [ ABS-CBN Interactive, JAVNO, EU told to pay for Sison’s 5-yr legal fees] ] Sison however, is still part of the European Union’s terrorism list according to the Royal Netherlands Embassy in the Philippines (July 13, 2007). In a media released one-page statement, the embassy said that all persons and organizations on the EU terrorism list [and] includes Mr. Sison, the CPP, and the NPA [New People’s Army] on the list and maintains the freeze on their assets. [ [, Joma Sison still on EU terror list--Netherlands embassy] ] National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales explained that the EU's decision is "not enforceable": “The council is higher than the court. There is a provision in the EU Charter that when a court ruling goes against the council’s decision, the latter will be upheld. The council has decided he is a terrorist, and because of this his assets should be frozen”. Gonzalez said, the Luxembourg-based court did not categorically say Sison’s assets should be released, but had merely questioned the process. [ [ Manila StandardToday, Top spy: Joma not yet in the clear] ]


"The people of the world, including progressive American forces, should forewarn the American people not to be carried away by jingoism, war hysteria and the anti-Arab and anti-Muslim drumbeat."- José María Sison "At Home in the World: Portrait of a Revolutionary" (co-authored by Ninotchka Rosca)


* 2003. US Terrorism and War in the Philippines. Netherlands, Papieren Tijger
* 1998. Philippine Economy and Politics. Co-authored by Julieta de Lima. Philippines, Aklat ng Bayan, Inc.
* 1989. "The Philippine Revolution : The Leader's View." With Rainer Werning. New York : Crane Russak.
* 1984. "Prison and Beyond: Selected Poems, 1958-1983." Quezon City: Free Jose Maria Sison Committee.
* 1971. "Philippine Society and Revolution." As Amado Guerrero. Manila: Pulang Tala.
* 1967. Struggle for National Demoracy. Quezon City, Progressive Publications

References and further reading


External links

* []
* [ The Arrest of Joma Sison] (dossier of the Philippine Daily Inquirer)

NAME=Sison, José María
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Philippine Maoist leader
DATE OF BIRTH=February 8, 1939
PLACE OF BIRTH=Cabugao, Ilocos Sur, Philippines

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • José María Sison — José María Sison, genannt Armando Liwanag, Joma (* 8. Februar 1939 in Cabugao, Philippinen) ist ein philippinischer Schriftsteller. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Biografie 2 Literatur 3 Einzelnachweise 4 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jose Sison — José María Sison, genannt Armando Liwanag, Joma (* 8. Februar 1939 in Cabugao, Philippinen) ist ein philippinischer Schriftsteller. Er ist der Gründer und mutmaßliche Anführer der revolutionären Kommunistischen Partei der Philippinen (CPP) und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sison — bezeichnet: Sison (Pangasinan), eine Stadtgemeinde in der Provinz Pangasinan auf den Philippinen Sison (Surigao del Norte), eine Stadtgemeinde in der Provinz Surigao del Norte auf den Philippinen José María Sison, Gründer der Kommunistischen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jose de Venecia, Jr. — Jose Claveria de Venecia, Jr. also known as JDV or Joe De V (born December 26, 1936) is a former Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines, serving from 1992 to 1998 and from 2001 to 2008. As Speaker, he was the fourth highest… …   Wikipedia

  • Jose De Venecia Jr. — Jose De Venecia Jr. (2007) Jose De Venecia JDV Jr. (* 26. Dezember 1936 in Dagupan City) ist ein philippinischer Politiker. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Biografie …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Santa Maria (Pangasinan) — Municipality of Santa Maria Lage von Santa Maria in der Provinz Pangasinán Basisdaten Bezirk …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Armando Liwanag — José María Sison, genannt Armando Liwanag, Joma (* 8. Februar 1939 in Cabugao, Philippinen) ist ein philippinischer Schriftsteller. Er ist der Gründer und mutmaßliche Anführer der revolutionären Kommunistischen Partei der Philippinen (CPP) und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Communist Party of the Philippines — This article is about the party re founded by José María Sison. For the original Communist Party of the Philippines founded in 1930, see PKP 1930. Communist Party of the Philippines MLM Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas …   Wikipedia

  • Ilokano writers — There are hundreds of published Ilokano writers (or Ilocano writers ) from the time Ilokano literature emerged through the efforts of Ilokano ilustrados in the 18th century to the present. The following list of Ilokano writers is not extensive… …   Wikipedia

  • Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas-1930 — Chairman Pedro P. Baguisa Secretary General Antonio E. Paris Founded 1930 (1930) Ideology …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.