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‘Who is in charge of the party?’

  • Written by Paul M.Gutierrez
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 327

LAST August 13, 2014, yours truly filed an exclusive, two part “special report” regarding the (then) ongoing “secret talks” being held by the Aquino government with the CPP-NPA-NDF leadership based in Utrecht, Netherlands.

The government’s “emissary” for that discreet talk was former student activist and LP stalwart, Hernando ‘Nani’ Braganza, who traveled to the Netherlands to talk with Ka Louie Jalandoni, Ka Fidel Agcaoili and of course, CPP founder, Prof. Jose ‘Ka Joema’ Maria Sison.
    
Well, that report was never refuted and was even confirmed a few months later during the much-publicized “visit” of Braganza to an NPA camp in Surigao del Norte to take part in the CPP’s 46th anniversary celebration on December 26.
    
The “official version” was that Braganza was “following up” on the peace talk with rebel local leaders headed by CPP spokesman and NPA chieftain in Mindanao, Jorge ‘Ka Oris’ Madlos.
    
As we all know, that effort at talking peace with the guerillas went to naught.
    
Now comes Pres. Rody Duterte -- who was pilloried by the LP and their ‘Yellow Tards’ as a “friend” and “supporter” of the CPP-NPA-NDF during the campaign period -- making a sincere bid for lasting peace as a cornerstone of his rule.
    
That Pres. Rody is sincere is shown by the fact that he announced a unilateral ceasefire ahead of the formal peace talks during his SONA last July 25.
    
For most Filipinos however, they find it “odd” that there was no immediate response from the other side.
    
More questionable of course was that even after PDU30 “extended” by 24 hours his Friday deadline for the rebels to answer his ceasefire call and more importantly to explain why the NPA based in Eastern Mindanao (EMRPC) staged a deadly ambush against a unit of the CAFGU on Wednesday, July 27, or 48 hours after his SONA, no convincing or reassuring explanation from the rebels was forthcoming.

* * *  

The “explanation” by a low-ranking, NPA front spokesman that they staged the ambush to “preempt” the AFP’s own offensive against them is laughable at best. Heck, even the most ardent “sympathizer” would find it hard to swallow this lie, err, “line.”
    
The simple fact of the matter, is that, in compliance with PDU30’s ceasefire directive, the CAFGUs were marching back to their own camp or AWAY from the NPA.
    
“Pabalik” sila sa sarili nilang kampo nang sila ay tambangan. Well, even those with rudimentary knowledge of military operation knows that you don’t conduct an ambush while you are on your way home. Indeed, the prospect of going back to their family could have added to the CAFGUs being “kampante” that resulted to their suffering casualties (one dead, four wounded).
    
Now, this explanation by NPA front spokesman, Ka Aris Francisco, as to their version of the incident, also raised the eyebrows in some quarters. I mean, why him?
    
Why did we not hear from Ka Oris himself, the official CPP spokesman who is also just within the vicinity?
    
Was this just a matter of letting a low-ranking comrade do the initial explanation but which he can subsequently “correct” or “amplify” should the need arises.
    
Or, was Ka Oris also lost for words because he too was surprised by what happened? Sa madaling salita, may ginagawa ba ang mga ‘local command’ ng NPA na hindi niya alam kahit siya pa ang ‘party spokesman’ at miyembro pa ng “KOMID” (Komite Mindanao)?
    
As for the ceasefire, some important quarters in government are quite amused that it was Ka Joema who has been doing the “trash talking” against PDU30 over the CPP’s inability to immediately match the ceasefire offer of the government and on their inability to meet the extended deadline the president made.
    
Of course, such indecision by the party and the unconvincing explanation that followed the ‘Kapalong Ambush’ also made most Filipinos wonder if the “self-exiled” leader of the CPP and his group abroad have “control” at all to the armed fighters back home?
    
Now, the amusement of these quarters I am referring to dovetails squarely to the general question: Who is really in “charge” of the party?
    
Was it still Ka Joema who, despite being ocean apart from the rest of us, continues to maintain a “mythical” persona from the thousands of Filipinos whose “awakening” and “consciousness” were largely shaped by his “PSR” (Philippine Society and Revolution) as well as the other ‘Marxist/Leninist/Maoist’ literatures that he has authored over the years.
    
Unfortunately, dear readers, the answer is no.
    
For the sad fact is that Joema has long ago “ceded” the party chairmanship to Benito Tiamzon, who can claim he is the “legitimate” party leader having been duly elected “chairman” during a CPP congress held in Quezon province in the middle ’90s.
    
Being no longer the chairman, Ka Joema can no longer “impose” his “will” on the party. His statements and pronouncements may be good copies for the press back home but for the “revolutionaries” they don’t count much.
 
If we are to also take as “good faith” his previous declaration that he is no longer “connected” to the party in any official capacity save for the “honorific title” of a “consultant” to the peace talks, then it becomes entirely clear why Ka Joema can only exclaim -- his desperation and irritation clear to everyone -- that yes, the CPP is about ready to also declare a ceasefire on Saturday -- but by “8 p.m.” or three hours after the deadline of Pres. Rody had lapsed.
    
Translation? Ang liderato pa rin ng partido, sa katauhan ng mga Tiamzon, ang “nasusunod” pagdating sa kung ano ang dapat maging “diskarte” at posisyon ng CPP -- kesehodang ano pa man ang nagiging postura at mga sinasabi ngayon ng mga “bosing” sa Netherlands.      
While it is fair to say that Ka Joema, Ka Louie and Ka Fidel could have wanted to immediately match the ceasefire declaration of PDU30, unfortunately, this is not what the incarcerated party chairman and his fellow central committee members have in mind.
   
The result? A “compromise” statement of an 8 p.m. deadline by the NPA. Is the “picture” suddenly clear to you, dear readers?
    
In my special report quoted above, I also refer to the “split” in the party leadership between the “war party” and the “peace party” that continues to pit the group of the Tiamzons and the group of Ka Joema.
 
But as I am running out of space, more on this, next time.
   
Kumbaga, “bibitinin” ko muna kayo, dear readers, hehehe! Ciao!