[The following statement is reprinted from the International Communist Seminar in Brussels, 2-4 May, 2000. The list of organizations who signed it are at the end of the document.]
Resolution on Justice for Leoncio Pitao
and all Political Prisoners in The Philippines
Sponsored by the delegations of the Communist Party of the
and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines
International Communist Seminar, Brussels, 2 – 4 May 2000
Political repression is on the rise in the Philippines amidst the worsening socio-economic crisis and intensified exploitation of the Filipino people by foreign monopoly capitalists and local big compradors and landlords.
Political prisoners are the living proof of this. In the first two years of the Estrada regime, more than two hundred people have been arrested and jailed for their political beliefs. Most of them were arrested without warrants, illegally detained, tortured, and charged with common crimes instead of political offenses. In the worst cases, a significant number were summarily executed or disappeared.
Among those presently detained is Comrade Leoncio Pitao a.k.a. Parago Sandoval, a commander of the New People’s Army (NPA). He was arrested on November 2, 1999 and has been detained in a military camp in Manila. In violation of the established jurisprudence that the charge of rebellion (a political offense) should not be complexed with or chopped up into multiple charges of common crimes, he has been falsely charged with 18 common crimes like murder, robbery, frustrated and attempted murder, arson and kidnapping.
His rights to due process and humane treatment have been violated--being kept incommunicado for days, regularly subjected to harsh and long tactical interrogations, and frequently denied visits from his wife, lawyers and doctors for long periods.
Comrade Pitao is a prisoner of war. But the reactionary government violates his rights as a prisoner of war under the Geneva Conventions and Protocol I and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law signed by the negotiating panels of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on March 16, 1998 and approved by GRP President Estrada himself on August 7, 1998 and by NDFP Chairman Mariano Orosa on April 10, 1998.
In sharp contrast, the Communist Party of the Philippines, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the New People’s Army respect the rights of prisoners of war and accord them humane treatment. Leoncio Pitao was himself responsible for the capture in February 1999 of two high ranking officers of the Philippine Army, Brig. Gen. Victor Obillo and his aide, Capt. Eduardo Montealto, and their expeditious release after 58 days in the custody of the NPA forces under his command. After their release, Gen. Obillo praised Pitao for the respect and humane treatment they received.
The undersigned hereby demand that the Government of the Republic of the Philippines respect the rights of Comrade Pitao and give due course to his release. We also demand that the same government stop its repression of the Filipino people, stop criminalizing political offenses, stop summary executions, respect the rights of prisoners of war and release all political prisoners.
Belgium, Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB)
Brazil, Centro Brasileiro da Soliedaridade aos Povos
Brazil, Communist Revolutionary Nucleus (NCR)
Cameroon, Movement of Independent Democrats
Chad, Chadian Action for Unity and Socialism (ACTUS)
Democratic Republic of Congo, Patriotic Front
Democratic Republic of Congo, People’s Power Committees (CPP)
Denmark, Marxist-Leninist Danish Communist Party (DKP ML)
Dominican Republic, Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of the Dominican Republic
France, Anti-Imperialist Front
France, Cercle Henri Barbusse
France, Communist Coordination
France, Information Bulletin "Nouvelles d'URSS"
Germany, Communist Party of Germany (KPD)
Great Britain, Lalkar Magazine
Greece, Revolutionary Marxist Organization A/Synechia
Haiti, Confédération ouvrière des Travailleurs haïtiens (KOTA)
India, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) New Democracy
Indonesia, People’s Democratic Party (PRD)
Italy, Circolo Lenin
Mali, African Solidarity for Democracy and Independence (SADI)
Mexico, Broad Front for the Construction of a National Liberation Movement (FAC-MLN)
Nepal Communist Party (Mashal)
Nepal, Anti-Imperialist Revolutionary Front
Netherlands, New Communist Party of the Netherlands (NCPN)
Norway, Workers’ Communist Party (AKP)
Philippines, Communist Party of the Philippines
Poland, League of Polish Communists "Proletariat"
Russia, All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks
Sweden, Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (revolutionary) (KPML(r))
Switzerland, Communist Organization Switzerland (KOS)
Turkey, Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front (DHKC)
Turkey, Turkish Communist Party / Marxist-Leninist (TKP/ML)
USA, Freedom Road Socialist Organization
USA, Ray O’Light Group
USA, Workers’ World Party
(List of 4 May 2000)