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Message of Gratitude to the Hongkong DEFEND Committee 

7 November 2002

I am very grateful to you for having organized the Hongkong DEFEND Committee. The formation of this committee demonstrates once more the solidarity of Filipinos and their friends for a good cause.

I am deeply pleased that you have come together as the most conscious and most active in defending my democratic rights. You come to the defense of one person but you are as well defending so many other people against the same malevolent forces that oppress and exploit the people.

The US has listed me as a "terrorist" and has asked the European and other governments to do likewise. They criminalize me as "terrorist": without any due process. They punish me as if I were already convicted. They defame and demonize me. They threaten my life. They freeze my small bank account. They curtail my freedom of movement. They inflict moral and material damages on me.

The injustice that they unleash against me is starkly clear. There is no formal criminal charge against me before any court of law anywhere in the world. Since 1998 the Manila government has issued a certification that there is no pending criminal charge against me. I have so long been a recognized political refugee under the protection of the Refugee Convention and the European Convention.

As chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, I have been directly involved in the preparations for and in the actual conduct of peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. I am a signatory to all the major agreements forged in these negotiations. Thus, bishops and other responsible people have pointed out that I am a peacemaker and not a terrorist.

I have long been fighting for a just and lasting peace involving the satisfaction of the people’s demand for national liberation and democracy against US imperialism and the local exploiting classes in the Philippines. In this connection, I have participated in the peace negotiations within the framework of The Hague Joint Declaration.

But unfortunately the Macapagal-Arroyo regime wish to negate substantive formal peace negotiations in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration and instead has been stubbornly demanding surrender negotiations through backchanneling. The regime has declared indefinite recess and then indefinite suspension to paralyse the negotiations.

Finally it has asked the US to target me, criminalize and demonise me as "a terrorist" and press the Dutch and other European governments to stigmatise and punish me. The objective is to intimidate all the negotiators, consultants, staffers and supporters of the NDFP for the futile purpose of pushing them towards capitulation.

Now that the European Council has already blacklisted me, the way is being cleared for the US to undertake the worst actions against me, including a request for my extradition and even assassination. But these do not frighten me at all. I am fighting back. Why should I be intimidated or cajoled into any kind of sell-out after all my more than 40 years of highly principled struggle against the oppressors and exploiters of my people.

I can uphold my integrity and fighting spirit not only because of strong personal conviction and tempering through prolonged struggle but also because of the continuing and growing support of the people in the Philippines and the rest of the world.

I am inspired and strengthened by your support. Your committee is part of the chain of international support for my cause. It is an important link, especially because your location is Hongkong, a vantage point in Asia, with interconnections to all countries in the whole world.

I hope that your committee can arouse and mobilize our Filipino compatriots, the host Chinese people and other people of various nationalities residing in Hongkong to defend my democratic rights. Your committee can cooperate with their existing organizations. I am confident that your committee will work successfully in terms of disseminating information and undertaking timely actions within your capability. #

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