MANILA - Exiled communist leader Jose Maria Sison on Tuesday said he is still a Filipino, contrary to the statement of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
Roque last month said Sison, who has been in self-exile in the Netherlands since 1987, has taken up Dutch citizenship. The group "Ambag Bayan" looped Roque's statement into a 4-minute video that has racked 61,000 views on Facebook as of this posting.
The clip also featured photos of Sison with various women, insinuating that he is living the good life abroad.
"I have never applied for Dutch citizenship and have never been naturalized as a Dutch citizen," Sison said in a statement.
"The legitimate mass media or any respectable person can verify this fact from the Dutch authorities in The Hague or the Dutch embassy in Manila."
He said he resides in The Netherlands as a political refugee and can travel for peace negotiations without having to be a Dutch citizen, in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights.
Sison added that the photos of him and various women were "taken during happy public occasions in which I and the other persons (overseas Filipino workers, academics and TV entertainment personalities) are properly dressed and behave in a friendly way towards each other."
Sison accused Roque, Ambag Bayan and state-run People’s Television Network of spreading "fake news" to deflect the public attention away from the administration's "monstrous crimes."