A few weeks ago, the Philippine Daily Inquirer ran a three-part series on “Kampanyang Ahos” which, according to the underground Left, the government and its media connections have used to discredit the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. PDI’s own reporter, Juan Escandor, Jr. did a follow-up on the series, this time getting the side of the NDFP. The Inquirer, which claims to promote “balanced news, fearless views,” refused to publish the interview with NDFP Chief Negotiator Luis Jalandoni in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Bulatlat.com, an independent, non-profit and alternative online publication, is publishing the interview instead. Jalandoni spoke on behalf of the NDFP.
(Interview with NDFP Chief Negotiator Luis Jalandoni, member of the NDFP National Executive Committee, by Juan Escandor, Jr., on April 26.)
Juan Escandor (JE): Maria Ceres Doyo described “Kampanyang Ahos” as like a crime of incest in which members of a family would rather not discuss and she also likened the weakness in a system that feeds on its own children. Do you subscribe to this analogy?
Luis Jalandoni (LJ): The presumptions of the analogy are wrong. The genuine leaders and members of the (Communist) Party prevailed over the masterminds and perpetrators of “Kampanyang Ahos” and decided to launch the rectification movement in order to expose, criticize and repudiate “Kampanyang Ahos” from l992 onwards. The highly-placed masterminds and perpetrators of “Kampanyang Ahos” blocked the exposure and condemnation of the crime from l985 onwards. The imperialists, anti-communist petty bourgeois grouplets, anti-communist columnists like Ceres Doyo and Trotskyites joined up with the biggest criminal suspects in “Kampanyang Ahos” (Benjamin de Vera, Ricardo Reyes, Frank Gonzales, Nathan Quimpo, etc.) to oppose the rectification movement. The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is good and healthy by rectifying errors and denouncing the crime. It is unfair to presume that communists by their nature eat each other or eat their own. Nothing of the sort has been said of the Christians just because of the bloody witchhunts, inquisitions, colonial wars, feudal and capitalist systems of exploitation and imperialist wars done by Christian countries. The CPP is good and healthy precisely by rooting out the causes of “Kampanyang Ahos” through the rectification movement and identifying the criminal suspects.
Ceres Doyo’s analogy of “the revolution devouring its own children” is not original. It is a worn-out phrase used by reactionaries who are deadly opposed to societal change to frighten people from the revolution. This worn-out phrase is also a favorite of opportunists who make it their business of taking a swipe at the revolution whenever they have the chance but appropriate the term “revolutionary” when it suits them like the “instant revolutionaries” who rode on the success of the EDSA uprising.
JE: Why did the NDF keep the bloody purge secret from the public since 1990, after the ten-year summing-up?
LJ: The NDFP did not keep “Kampanyang Ahos” a secret. It let the CPP over time to exercise its competence and jurisdiction over “Kampanyang Ahos” as a subject of the rectification movement, before the crime could be submitted to the people’s courts against specific suspects. As already pointed out, even within the CPP there had to be an internal struggle in order to defeat the criminal suspects who were blocking the appropriate Party and people’s governmental action on the crime. By the way, the facile reference to “Kampanyang Ahos” as a “bloody purge” unfairly insinuates that it was some kind of cleansing process duly approved by the entire CPP. That is not true.
JE: In a protracted guerilla war like what the CPP-NDF wages, the balance of forces is a major consideration before any information could be made public especially that interpreting sensitive information out of context could inflict damage to the whole revolutionary movement. Was this the reason why the CPP-NDF kept mum on the bloody purge?
LJ: Within the CPP, the genuine communists were clamoring from l986 onwards for the proper investigation of “Kampanyang Ahos” but the highly-placed criminal suspects kept on declaring it as a revolutionary success. There was no simple case of the CPP concealing the crime as a matter of tactics or out of fear of any interpretation. The book of Jose Maria Sison, The Philippine Revolution: The Leader’s View, exposed the crime publicly as early as 1988. But the press and military either conceal or are ignorant of this fact.
JE: In actual figures, is the revolutionary movement ready to publicly divulge, how many were estimated killed, tortured, if only to show their openness and trust to the masses?
LJ: The summary figures are contained in the basic rectification documents of the CPP Central Committee since l992. About 1,500 Party cadres and members, mass activists and allies were arbitrarily arrested, humiliated and tortured. Hundreds of them were murdered. The masterminds and perpetrators were in essence not communists but anti-communists. In fact, most of them are now openly serving the reactionary state.
JE: Has the relative period of silence of the revolutionary movement about the bloody purges [been] intended until the Philippine military and the media started to bring forth the issue to the public?