Greenpeace hits report linking environment activist to Reds

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/15 November)—Greenpeace-Southeast Asia today hit a news report quoting a retired police official as saying that a Davao City-based environment activist went to Indonesia last July to raise funds for the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Lea Guerrero, regional communications manager of Greenpeace Southeast Asia said that Jean Marie Ferraris, regional team leader of the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Kasama sa Kalikasan (LRC-KsK) went to Ceribon, West Java in Indonesia upon their invitation.

Guerrero said Ferraris was there to attend a forum on coal and not as head of the CPP’s “international financial cell” as alleged by retired police director Rodolfo Mendoza, a former intelligence officer.

“She was there because we invited her as part of the Climate Action Network based in Sarangani,” Guerrero told reporters at the Kapehan sa SM on Monday.

“The allegation about her membership with the CPP was completely untrue,” she added.

She was reacting to a report in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Nov. 6, 2010) that quoted Mendoza as saying that Ferraris reportedly headed a cell network in Indonesia to generate funds for the CPP.

Guerrero clarified that Ferraris was arrested with 13 other environment activists, some of them Indonesians, when they held a press conference to discuss the effects of coal on the environment.

The environment forum was attended by environment activists from Thailand and Indonesia.  Although Ferraris was among those arrested, the arrest had nothing to do with the CPP, Guerrero said.

“The arrest itself was ‘weird’ because we were only holding a press conference, a usual activity in a forum like that,” she said.

Ferraris and the 13 other environment activists were freed after two days.

“But the allegations linking her to the CPP was totally untrue,” Guerrero said.

Erwin B. Quinones, communications officer of LRC-KsK, earlier said in a statement that the report could threaten Ferraris’ security and could affect her work as an advocate of the environment and indigenous peoples’ rights. (Germelina Lacorte/MindaNews)