MANILA - Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Wednesday said he was not inclined to have Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison arrested should he visit the Philippine embassy in the Netherlands, where he has been on self-exile for three decades.
The issue was raised during the confirmation hearing of Jose Eduardo Malaya III as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Netherlands.
"No, I will not enforce that warrant of arrest in that embassy abroad," Locsin told members of the Commission on Appointments (CA) when asked about the hypothetical scenario of the CPP founder, who is living in Utrecht, visiting the new ambassador.
"If I were to enforce that and arrest him, considering the limited resources that we have in all our embassies abroad, we would present an international spectacle that would invite laughter first and then outrage," he said.
"It embarrasses the dignity and honor of the foreign service," he said.
There remains a standing arrest warrant against Sison and several others for his alleged involvement in the massacre of NPA members in 1985. A Manila court issued the warrant after skeletal remains were found in a mass grave in Inopacan town, Leyte in 2006.
Locsin cited the United States policy of not arresting wanted persons inside its embassies abroad.
"If the Americans are not prepared to enforce something that they might be able to do, I would hesitate to do it myself. I do not wish to embarrass my country," he said.
Sison and his wife, Julie De Lima, has been living in exile in The Netherlands since 1987.
The CPP founder earlier told ABS-CBN News that he and his wife each got P1.2 million for their detention and torture under the rule of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Sison, once a professor of President Rodrigo Duterte, earlier said he was "not absolutely against" returning to the Philippines but "at the proper time."
Peace negotiations between government and the communist movement did not prosper under the Duterte administration.
The CA eventually approved the nomination of Malaya as ambassador to The Netherlands.