A report about the assassination campaign done by the Communist Party of the Philippines and their armed component New Peoples Army.
INDIVIDUALS and groups listed as “counterrevolutionaries” in a December issue of the official publication of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) have denounced the roster as a “hit list.”
“We’re fair game,” Walden Bello, a University of the Philippines professor who is on the CPP list, told Inquirer editors. “We don’t think this is an arbitrary listing.” In an open letter to CPP founder Jose Maria Sison on the 36th anniversary of the CPP today, Bello and Akbayan Rep. Loretta Ann Rosales said: “The party which you founded 36 years ago views them as ideological and political enemies — class enemies, as can be ’gleaned from their international links.”’
In its Dec. 7 issue, the Ang Bayan identified the “counterrevolutionaries” in a diagram of individuals and organizations and their links to so-called Trotskyites and social democrats abroad. The diagram was prepared by the CPP’s International Department.
“Some personalities involved with some of these groups are already dead, like Popoy Lagman, Romulo Kintanar and Arturo Tabara. Lagman, reportedly — and the latter two admittedly — in the hands of your armed wing, the New People’s Army. Another person on the list, Ricardo Reyes, is already in your order of battle,” Bello and Rosales said. “Outside of Ric Reyes who currently chairs Akbayan, we, Walden Bello, chair emeritus of Akbayan and Loretta Ann P. Rosales, first Akbayan representative, are also among the individuals listed. Does this mean you intend to kill us one by one?” the two said.
Lagman and Tabara were assassinated on Feb. 6, 2001, and on Sept. 26, 2004, respectively. Ang Bayan identified Lagman as someone from the PMP [Partido ng Manggagawang Pilipino], BMP [Bukluran ng Mangagagawang Pilipino] and Sanlakas, and Tabara was identified with RPM [Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Mangagawa]-Pilipinas.
Besides Bello, Boy Morales and Gani Serrano were tagged as Pop Dem (popular democrats) and part of IPD (Institute for Popular Democracy); Rosales and Reyes of Padayon; Manjette Lopez and Liddy Nakpil of PPD (Partido Proletaryo Demokratiko); Sony Melencio of SPP [Socialist Party of the Philippines]; Nilo de la Cruz of RPM/RPA [Revolutionary Proletariat Army]-ABB [Alex Boncayao Brigade]; Ike de los Reyes of RPM-Mindanao; and Tito de la Cruz and Caridad Pascual of MLPP [Marxist-Leninist Party of the Philippines] and RHB [Rebolusyonaryong Hukbong Bayan]. “These are the people who left” the CPP and its allied organizations, Bello said when he and Rosales visited the Inquirer on Dec. 15. CPP spokesperson Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal strongly denied the existence of an “NPA hit list.”
Figment of imagination
“That supposed NPA [New People’s Army] hit list was only a product of the malicious figment of imagination of military propagandists. It only aims to besmirch the popular image of the Red fighters from among the masses,” Rosal said in a mobile-phone interview when asked about the Ang Bayan diagram. Rosal said the perennial resurrection of the alleged NPA “hit list” was part of the demolition job against the NPA being orchestrated by the military. He scoffed at some former members of the revolutionary movement, who, according to him, were spreading wild tales on their supposed inclusion on the NPA list of people targeted for assassination. “Probably, they are now in fear because they have committed crimes against the people and the revolutionary movement,” Rosal said. “If they have nothing to fear, then why live in fear?”
Rosal said other people also left the movement, “but since they have done nothing against the movement, they just go on with their lives.” He reiterated that the NPA had nothing to do with the murder of Lagman. “Popoy was killed by his former comrades in the ABB [the former urban unit of the NPA] because of his treachery when he turned himself as partner of Ping [Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a former chief of the Philippine National Police] and Erap [former President Joseph Estrada],” Rosal said.
Deep sadness, anger
Activist Liddy Nakpil is also worried of the possible implications of the Ang Bayan diagram. She said she knew what it means to be labeled “counterrevolutionary” by the CPP. “Several former leaders accused of being counterrevolutionaries and agents of the state have been killed by the CPP while others are harassed and pursued,” Nakpil said in a statement. “But former colleagues are not the only targets-organizers and activists from people’s organizations and movements not within the sphere of influence of the CPP are also being threatened and attacked.”
She added: “Many of us who have given our youth and much of the best years of our lives in advancing the national democratic struggle, many of us whose loved ones have died for that struggle, and those of us who dare follow a different path toward revolutionary change witness what the CPP leadership is doing with a mixture of deep sadness, frustration and anger. They are squandering whatever gains and successes achieved in all these decades of struggle.” Nakpil, widow of Lean Alejandro, secretary general of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan when he was assassinated on Sept. 19, 1987, allegedly by government agents, said the CPP accusations and actions “have caused loss of lives and danger to individuals, as well as terrible harm to the socialist cause.”
Nakpil said the diagram and an accompanying short article were another pathetic attempt of the CPP to discredit Philippine progressive groups in its effort to project itself as the only true revolutionary movement.
“The article and diagram are based on patently erroneous information, outrageously biased judgments, antiquated analysis and sheer malice,” she said. “More than pathetic, this is tragic for a movement claiming itself scientific and revolutionary and seeking to be a governing force.” Bello and Rosales said they were puzzled and a little annoyed because “while we were all once national democrats, our movement was part of a much broader based anti-dictatorship united front that sought the end of one-man rule through the ouster of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.”
They noted that social democrats and Trotskyites marched side by side with national democrats, church groups and ordinary citizens who loved the country and wanted an end to the dictatorship. “In the international arena, our combined ranks actively led in strengthening the social movements against the ill effects of globalization on struggling economies of the Third World.”
Rosales chairs the committee on human rights in the House of Representatives, while Bello is the recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, also known as the Alternative Noble Prize. “Against which standards does the national democratic movement judge such efforts as counterrevolutionary?” they asked Sison, who is based in Utrecth, The Netherlands.
Universal human rights
Bello and Rosales said Sison would once again stand pat on his claim that he was waging an armed and just war in defense of the Filipino people’s national and democratic interests. “Considering that we are no longer part of your protracted war, does this make us class enemies and fair game as enemy targets?” they said in the open letter. “It bothers us that your 36-year-old obsession over armed warfare asserts that all other forms of struggle are inherently inferior and a threat to the primacy of the over-arching goal of a violent upheaval.Even more deadly, it is justified to eliminate such a threat since your concept of revolutionary justice not only excuses but necessitates it.”
The Philippine Left is a much, much bigger community than the CPP wants it to be, Bello and Rosales said. “We want to impart upon Sison that if the party he founded is truly interested in upholding universal human rights, it has to reassess its role in the progressive movement — as an agent of discourse and peaceful co-existence, not as a fascist harbinger of violence, hatred and murder,” they said.
Rosales earlier told Inquirer editors that the CPP was angry at Akbayan because the party-list group, which has won three seats in the House, was taking a role that the CPP thinks it should do alone. “And we’re doing it without guns,” she said.
With a report form Delfin T. Mallari Jr., PDI Southern Luzon Bureau.
Dec 26, 2004 Inquirer News Service
Editor’s Note: Published on page A1 of the December 26, 2004 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer