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ROUGH CUTS | End of an era for the CPP?

The top leadership pf the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) who prefer to continue waging their battle right here in the country, confirmed the other day the demise of their founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison while in his exile in The Netherlands.

     With Sison’s death, will his successor be as hardline as the founding chair who led the bloody efforts to dethrone the democratic government in place in the Philippines more than half a century ago?  As many who are religious students of Philippine history Sison, a disciple of the Maoist brand of communism, is the only one who has lasted this long without budging even an inch of his ideological belief that his brand of communism is the most appropriate in the Philippines. His contemporary and rival in the struggle to introduce communism in the country, like then UP professor of political science at the height of their activism at the University of the Philippines Dr. Francisco Nemenzo, a Leninist who later in his years at the university moved on to become its President, eventually opted to enter into some kind of critical collaboration with government.

     There were efforts of government to reach out to Sison if only to end what is to be the longest struggle to oust democracy in the Philippines and in its stead plant the communist ideology. Sison was arrested during the dying days of the Marcos Sr. administration. But his having entered into some kind of modus vivendi with the anti-Marcos Sr. groups which latter succeeded in having a peaceful power grab, earned him his freedom, courtesy of then newly installed President Corazon C. Aquino.

     Sison, however did not pursue and seized the opportunity to continue a dialogue with government. Instead of re-living the peace talk, he decided to manifest his dissatisfaction by openly fighting the government he helped install. He later went on self-exile in that tiny European country which somehow did not hesitate to give him asylum.

     The last and most positively expected to result to fruition was the peace talk offered during the term of then President Rodrigo Duterte who was before his Presidency, known to be “lovey-dovey” with Sison, the latter being his professor in his early years in college. Moreover, Duterte then had on many occasions, negotiated with the Communist for the release of several persons taken hostage by the Sison led rebels.

     Thus the hope for the end of the struggle against the democratic government was highly expected. But again Sison had a different agenda. Even as talks were ongoing his armed minions in the Philippines were attacking government troops and even ambushing soldiers escorting relief missions. Meaning, Sison was doing double talks. For the nth time the peace talks bogged down and the bloody encounters continued. 

     Meanwhile, Sison’s death seems to have overtaken the intention of the current administration to resume talks with him for a peaceful end of the bloody struggle.

     Nonetheless, if the present government so desires it can still pursue its planned resumption of the peace negotiation with whoever will take over the CPP leadership. And its success or failure would depend on how much of Sison’s hardline stand will rub in on the new chairman.

     It is our take however, that Sison’s replacement will be able to make history for himself and the Communist Party of the Philippines if he will be able to bring back the party to the negotiating table and succeed in getting what could be acceptable concessions for the CPP that the government is willing to concede as well.

     By this time perhaps, a good number of the rebels’ top leaders could possibly be tired of a war where they have yet to see any positive gain other than the increasing body count of those who died and maimed both from their ranks, the government, and the innocent civilians. 

     Of course we are not precluding the possibility that the level of influence of Sison’s successor over the CPP leaders who are in the country and the heads of its armed group the New People’s Army (NPA), will most likely weigh in on his/her future actions with regards to the CPP’s direction in dealing with the government.

     It is our hope that whoever takes over Sison’s post gets the full support of the majority of those on top of the echelon of the rebel movement.



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