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Joma’s revolutionary forces would fit in a subcompact European car

I hope President Rodrigo Duterte has realized that the megalomaniac septuagenarian Jose Ma. Sison no longer commands, nor has any influence over, the New People’s Army or the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). Even his ideological sway over the communist insurgents has weakened to a mere nostalgia since he was captured in 1977.

If Cory Aquino didn’t resuscitate his mythology, Sison would have long joined the ranks of the old leaders of the pro-Soviet Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas like the Lava brothers whom the young communists have not even come to know or heard about.

The entirety of the revolutionary forces Sison now commands would fit in a subcompact European car, consisting of non-Filipino septuagenarians on their way to posh retirement resorts in Europe: Juliet de Lima, Sison’s wife and sister of Senator Leila de Lima, the ex-clerics Luis Jalandoni and Connie Ledesma, both Dutch citizens; and Fidel Agcaoili, son of the former strongman’s top lawyer, Federico Agcaoili, reputedly a Spanish citizen.

Sison’s expertise really has been propaganda, and he has managed to portray himself as having totally led and who still leads the Communist Party. The reality is that there had been several challenges to his megalomania since 1974, when cadres found out with total certainty that he ordered the Plaza Miranda bombing of the Liberal Party’s miting de avance in 1971 and then blamed Marcos for it.

His decline as the communist leader in the Philippines hastened when he fled the country in 1987, especially as the generation of CPP cadres and NPA commanders who had taken command had come from the youth group Samahang Demokratiko ng Pilipinas (SDK), which Sison ordered dismantled in 1972 to give way to his organization Kabataang Makabayan. (In fact, right after Martial Law was imposed, Sison deployed many of the SDK leaders, like Tony Hilario and Ferdie Arceo, to the countryside to organize NPA units. Poorly armed and financed, and without military training of any sort, they were killed in a few months, mostly by barrio militias who thought they were bandits.)

Who will the NPA follow as leader? The Tiamzons who have fought IN the boondocks for 40 years, or Sison, who has been in the Netherlands the past 30 years?
Who will the NPA follow as leader? The Tiamzons who have fought IN the boondocks for 40 years, or Sison, who has been in the Netherlands the past 30 years?

Sison had awed young patriots into the party (including myself) with his revolutionary opus Philippine Society and Revolution (PSR), which in the early 1970s seemed to be a bolt of lightning in the darkness, presenting a previously unheard of but systematic analysis of the Philippines and a program of action.

But that was when there was no worldwide web.

Revolutionary plagiarism
Now we know that the PSR is a near-total plagiarism — even in its title — of Indonesian Communist Party chairman D.N. Aidit’s Indonesian Society, Indonesian Revolution published in 1949, which in turn was copied from Mao Ze Dong’s 1939 Specific Characteristics of the People’s War in China.

Sison was sent by the old Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas to Indonesia in 1964 to learn from what was then the biggest communist party in Asia (other than the Chinese party), which seemed at the time to be on the verge of revolution. Instead, Suharto (who would be in power for 31 years) overthrew the left-leaning Sukarno, and massacred nearly all Indonesian communists, including Aidit, together with 500,000 Indonesians of Chinese ethnicity. The Chinese-looking Sison just barely missed the pogrom, and would have, with his Chinese-looks, been executed.

An excellent wordsmith, Sison had managed to portray himself as the undisputed leader of the Philippine revolution, who made it grow to be such a threat to the Philippine bourgeois state. In reality, in the CPP’s 48 years of existence, Sison spent barely seven years leading the revolution on the ground, since he went so deep in the underground right after Martial Law was imposed that he lost touch with the NPA and the communist centers of power for two years. He also got jailed for nine years from 1977 to 1986, and has, for nearly three decades since his 1987 escape, been living in the Netherlands.

The revolution’s growth, starting in the late 1970s after Commander Dante, was due to the work of such commanders as Rodolfo (“Commander Bilog”) Salas, Romulo Kintanar, Benito Tiamzon, Jorge Madlos, Edgar Jopson, and of course, for Metro Manila, Filemon Lagman, When he was chairman, Sison presided over the party’s rout, with him, Commander Dante and several other Politburo members captured in one swoop by the Philippine Constabulary in 1977. By the time Cory released him in 1986, the revolution had already grown by leaps and bounds, led by these CPP and NPA leaders.

Sison doesn’t know, let alone met in person, the present CPP leaders and NPA commandeers. In contrast, the real revolution in the mountains and jungles had been carried out for nearly four decades by communist leaders Benito Tiamzon and his wife Wilma Austria, (reportedly the CPP chairman and general secretary, respectively until their capture in 2014), as well as Tiamzon’s alleged successor, Adel Silva, who was captured last year.

The present overall commander of the NPA, who had been in Southern Luzon jungles for almost 40 years, had not met Sison. I was told he was dismissive of Sison and the Utrecht group. The acting Party secretary general had been with Sison in the underground in the early 1970s but has had a falling out with the demagogue, whom he disliked.

In short, I don’t think the CPP and the NPA will follow any agreement signed by Sison, who now hilariously refers to himself as just a National Democratic Front “consultant” but has published a book of his interviews with gullible European leftist writers, entitled “The Philippine Revolution: The Leader’s View.”

Why would anyone follow an agreement signed by Sison, Jalandoni and Agcaoili, who have spent the past three decades in the comfort of imperialist nations’ cities?

Check their credentials
There has to be a way, as it is required in all negotiations, for the Philippine government to check first the credentials of people they are talking to, to be sure they really represent the revolutionary forces on whose behalf they claim to speak. And this just can’t be based on historical precedent.

The communist party’s real leaders with whom President Duterte must communicate to ask them who their representatives are, would be the following: the current Party secretary general, the NPA overall commander (officially termed as head of the NPA National Operational Command), the head of the Party’s legal struggles group (which supervises the leftist party-lists and unarmed leftist groups), and of course, the Tiamzon couple, who are very much respected by the CPP and NPA commanders as their leader in the past 20 years.

Duterte should also change his entire panel of negotiators. Bebot Bello and Jess Dureza are very good men, passionate to have peace in the country. But they have been so close to Sison and the Utrecht group – with whom they have been talking since former President Fidel Ramos’ administration – that they seem to be bosom friends with the Utrecht residents, so that Sison knows how they think. Change, in the case of our peace panel, hasn’t come.

This is a big no-no in negotiations, as this undercuts their negotiating power. Other countries that are engaged in peace talks even routinely change their negotiators, so that the other party is in the dark as to how to handle the negotiators.

Get ex-generals and hardly smiling, stern people, the likes of Senator Panfilo Lacson, to create an atmosphere of seriousness in the talks. Get ex-general Jovito Palparan, the communists’ nemesis, to join our panel, to unsettle them. It’s sickening the way Bello and Dureza keep smiling when talking to Sison, who is responsible one way or another for the deaths of thousands of Filipinos and for our country’s political instability that has been one major factor for our nation’s poverty.

It is also scandalous why this former congressman was included in the panel, allegedly upon the request of Sison. Why the hell would the other party be given a say on who our negotiators should be? Or is he there just so he can regularly visit Amsterdam’s marijuana cafes?


This Post Has 39 Comments

  1. DARAB

    ang lahat ng ito ay pang-iintriga at gustong magkahati hati ang rebolusyonaryong kilusan..hindi na ito epektibo ngayon Mr. Tiglao marami ng nakuhang aral ang kilusan sa mga pakanang panghahati..kaya mabibigo ka sa mga layunin ng iyong sinulat.. 🙂

  2. braveheart

    A very accurate assessment of the situation, all along many believes that Joma has no control of NPA.Duterte should deal directly with the NPA Benito Tiamzon now captured & his deputy or the present NPA leader in command.Going to Oslo is a junket.

    1. Gaston

      Oslo is in Norway. Utrecht is in the Netherlands. Maybe you should read up more before commenting.

  3. braveheart

    A very accurate assessment of the situation, all along many believes that Joma has no control of NPA.Duterte should deal directly with the NPA Benito Tiamzon now captured & his deputy or the presentNPA leader in command.Going to Oslo is a junket.

  4. Romeo Ablazo

    The so called NPA’s on the ground are no longer beholden to the ideologies being originally preached by sison et al. ATM, most of them are blinded by the glitter of gold and craves the sweet smell of money. They comprised the bulk of the labor in the small scale mining in the remote mountains through out the Philippines.

  5. Ali Kuteg

    Some members of the Yellow Army are also avid readers in your column, Mr. Tiglao. It’s not surprising because they come out to say that the late Pres. Marcos conspired with the Ilocano traitor Jose Maria Sison. Marcos was not as stupid as Ninoy Aquino who betrayed his party mates just to pursue his dark political ambitions.

  6. Commentor

    “Sison ordered dismantled in 1972 to give way to his organization Kabataang Makabayan. (In fact, right after Martial Law was imposed,”

    Other notable known members of KM as per newspapers previous revelations were Nilo Tayag, Nur Misuari, and Rodrigo Duterte a name I never encountered in those years of martial law.

    Its only now I am reading old friendships between those names Sison, Misuari and Duterte except for Tayag.

    So what old friends and comrades are for ?

    REUNION.. ano pa nga ba ?

  7. Norland

    It’s another Moro-Moro scheme of Sison, Duterte and company.

    1. paolo merced

      Exactly. You are so right. Meantime, Duterte has allowed Sison’s lapdogs to take over the DSWD, DAR, DOLE, NAPC, etc. where they are now waging a ruthless vendetta against those who are unfortunate enough not to look good under the communist lens of these Duterte-appointed and Sison-recommended but incompetent secretaries, usecs, asecs, and what-have-you who do not know anything except witch-hunting.

  8. Johnny Ramos

    I bet Jose Ma Sison and Jalandoni does not control anymore the NPA and its allies. They have been long gone and their gangs no longer respect them

  9. Rudi Miranda

    Thank you Bobbi for your intercession. Indeed brave pen, right thoughts, right words, write right. I suspected as well that the Utrecht group no longer holds much sway to the women and men in the regions. Please hold talks Pres. Digong Duterte with the popular people in the underground who have gone through the gauntlet of guerrilla warfare, these people’s integrity is intact and knows the work first hand, and not just through reports.

    Mr. Tiglao is right in his analysis of Utrecht, viz-a-viz, Bello and Dureza.

    Lacson will be a new face in the negotiation for the government side which will be much better.

  10. Dino Gibb

    If they declare they are from the left that’s enough credentials. Palparan doesn’t think he just follows orders.

  11. P.Akialamiro

    The Tiamzons should be the persons the Du30 government should have peace agreement with. I don’t think the so-called leaders who have been ‘hiding’ in other countries really represent the sentiments of the ‘foot’ soldiers in the country. After all, the ones in the country trying to ‘fight it out’ are the real parties.

  12. joros

    According to Joma, Pres. Duterte acts like a butangero. Wala na siya kasi maidahilan kung bakit ang mga NPA ay sumira sa ceasefire. If I were an NPA why should I follow Joma, who is he? Nag bibigay ba siya ng tulong sa mga NPA financial man or armas? Dun lang siya nagpapasarap sa Netherlands. Nabubuhay ang NPA sa revolutionary tax. Hindi sa supporta ni Joma.

    1. Edwin Subijano

      Hindi nagkaroon ng ceasefire !!! Unilateral declaration lang !!!
      Ang AFP patuloy pa rin ang paglusob sa NPA pagkatapos ng declaration!

    2. DARAB

      tama..ang AFP ang lumabag sa CEASE FIRE dahil patuloy ang kanilang military operations ang mga namatay na umanoy sundalo matapos ang unilateral cease fire ay mga kasapi ng paramilitary groups na ALAMARA na mga pumatay at nanghaharas sa mga lumad

  13. Leodegardo Pruna

    I think that not only is there sense in the suggestion of Amb. Tiglao in the composition of the negotiating team. Dureza and Bello could still be there. But, stearn and serious looking guys should join them so that their smiling could be minimized. We need to seriously talk with the right people. Talking to the wrong people would do more harm than good. The suggestion of Amb. Tiglso for Lacson, Palparan on the government side and the Tiamzons’ on the other side in the talks would lend semblance of credence to the talk which could be respected by the present NDF,NPA, NCP membership. God save the Philippines. God bless the Philippines.

    1. dave diwa

      sen. ping is smart, very smart and knows his way around: remember he eluded arrest for almost a year from GMA’s henchmen… but please don’t send Ret. Gen Jovito Palparan… he will surely be lynch dead in the streets of amsterdam by NDF bodyguards… ok na sana ang column until Bobit mentioned the two… or it was a way of saying walang mangayayari sa “smiling peace talks” na ‘to… jejeje…

  14. justin

    Those aging rebel leaders want to enjoy life until death and have hero’s burial.

  15. Lynne Bisnar

    Do not like communists.especially the ones who called themselves leaders who fled and hide in the country that practice imperialism. Communist leaders nowadays are dictators in a a different form. Wolf in sheep clothing.
    I say let us file a petition to ban all communist from any democratic countries like. America, Australia, Canada and Philippines.

  16. canuto

    Please give credit also to Ninoy Aquino who was one of the founding fathers of the New People’s Army and co-author of the Plaza Miranda bombing. Thank you.

    1. joros

      Why co-author of the Plaza Miranda bombing? He is the brain/author of that bombing.

  17. Bienb

    Let Palparan negotiate. LoL… tapos agad usapan.

    1. Daniel B. Laurente

      This suggestion just let my small smile visible. LOL…

  18. Lamberto

    Lumaki ako during the heigth of this so called NPA. In fack my brother and my sister in law was killed by this group. Not that the where doing somethng against the group, it so happened that my sister in law was a police woman only doing her job. The worst thing was the killer whrere cousins. I don’t have any grudge of this people, but having a peace negociation with this guy Sisson, is very very wrong. We should directly negotiate the members who are leaving in the mountains up to this time. Not a person in a confort lounge room with everything.

  19. ike suarez

    great analysis,bobi. we may disagree now on several political issues, but i consider you still a friend and someone whose journalistic professionalism I respect. I hope you still consider me too as a friend.

    1. L A

      Hmmm, a relation of Fidel is also a Bobi follower?

  20. To the Max

    Just reading the comments, I am sure Pres. Duterte is thinking what the heck I am here. He is now feeling his way to a very complicated NPA ceasefire. Duterte is a very very intelligent person, I trust that he knows what is happening. Mr. Tiglao was connected and knows a lot about the communist party. In fact , he went to prison because of his lose connection with the insurgents.

  21. Kat

    You have a point Mr. Tiglao and I agree with what you have said.

  22. butter

    President Duterte should listen to the new generation of leaders .
    It is a good strategy to find new negotiators . Old ones carries old ideology !

    This is the new beginning , the followers of the old regime in the likes of Sison are all looking tired, ineffective and ready to expire. They have been out of touch of what the young minds need!

    No need to go the the Netherlands and negotiate .
    Peace will have to start from our own backyard . Empower the people and leaders who are on our own ground, this are the Patriots , not the ones who hide and retreat on their own convenience.

  23. Rogelio Lim

    Alam ni R. Tiglao ang kanyang sinabi. Kung hindi niya alam ito, hindi siya makakagawa ng ganitong analysis.



  25. field

    Release Gen. Jovito Palaran from prison and designate him as one of the negotiators with the CPP-NPA leaders. We know that the charges against Palaparan are just harassments. Let him talk with the CPP-NPA leaders in a neutral place.

    Thanks Mr. Tiglao that you are still alive and able to reveal the inside information and what you know about the CPP-NPA rebels and movements.

    1. DARAB

      pwede palang maging negotiator ang mga berdugong katulad ni palparan? tandaan niyo sa panahon ni palparan ay mahigit 1,000 katao ang naging biktima ng pampulitikang pamamaslang at pagdukot..lahat yun ay walang imbestigasyon na naganap..tapos magiging negosyador? baka di talaga kayo naghahangad ng kapayapaan

  26. L A

    Fidel is the son of Tony, a member of that illustrious Law Class ’39 where Andy is their most beloved classmate. Fidel is a cousin of primo Rico. Tony’s law firm which are now run by his apos is still the legal counsel of Citibank up to now. Against this backdrop, there is something that I rather find intriguing up to this time even if I may just be deemed as another conspiracy theorist.

    Since Tony is a classmate and had access to Citibank, it would not be farfetched to secure funding therefrom to procure a ship to ferry cargo for the rebels. For all we know, it may even have been Marcos who encouraged the purchase of MV Karagatan and arm the rebels to portray an active insurgency and convince the generals that there was indeed a revolution from the countrysides. For if Marcos can plant a Victor Corpuz in the midst of the rebels thru a staged armory raid so convincing that even most guerillas believed it at that time, he surely can create another Karagatan drama to complete a revolutionary narrative. Surely, with Vic in the company of the leaders of the NPA in the early 70s, Marcos was always abreast of all the on-goings in their inner sanctum. Since the Corpuz and Karagatan episodes were all Marcos-instigated, Sison may also just be another plant of Marcos in the Ninoy camp, hence providing Marcos with info on all the moves of the congenital liar. Thus, it may now seem to appear that the Sison Episode is just but a tool to create the illusion of a revolutionary ambiance to justify martial law so that when it was finally declared, Sison’s job was done that he just have to go very deep underground thereafter. Surely, Vic and Joma knew the real score.

    1. Sabino Francisco

      Your imagination seem farfetched!

    2. Andres Luna


      1. L A

        Sorry, my inadvertence, indeed, twas Don Alfonso. Seems my age is catching up on me.

    3. jack reacher

      with the former strongman’s ambition and eccentricity .. partly/some of these connections MAY be TRUE

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