DOING research on another topic at — believe it or not — the CIA’s Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room at the US intelligence agency’s website, I chanced upon an entry “Philippine rebels targeting rights groups, churches.” It turned out to be a Washington Post article written in 1986 by William Branigin, a respected foreign correspondent here in the late 1980s, married to a patriotic and convivial Filipina, Bing.
I knew Bill as a very meticulous, careful journalist.
The following piece of his shows he was also bold. I’ve never read anywhere else such an exposé on the communists’strategy, and mind you, in that era, the communists’ death squads called the Alex Boncayao Brigade were roaming the city.
Why can’t our media write such real investigative pieces? Indeed, they have instead mostly become the disseminators of the propaganda output of such communist-infiltrated “rights groups, churches.”
Reading his piece, I got goose bumps: The piece was so prescient and it reads as if it had been reported yesterday. The “rebels” — i.e. the Communist Party — have indeed been so successful in this strategy that these “rights groups, churches” have been to this day the communists’ most potent propaganda weapon, and even recruitment offices.
Branigin’s 1986 Washington Post piece, slightly truncated to fit in this column space, follows:
According to Filipino and foreign sources, the Communist Party has infiltrated what it calls the “church sector” in the Philippines and forged links abroad with church groups, human rights organizations, labor unions and associations of expatriate Filipinos to a much greater extent than is publicly acknowledged here. The sources include Filipino political and military analysts, church leaders, western diplomats and researchers and communist officials and publications.