Jose Maria Sison: A Good Man Worth Defending

It’s not clear whether Agbulos also credits Sison for writing the documents of the Second Great Rectification Movement (SGRM) of the Communist Party of the Philippines, but what is certain is the writer’s certainty that without the said articles, the damage done to the CPP and the NPA would have been worse and perhaps irreparable.

In the meantime, for all the personal and political attacks against Sison, his detractors and other enemies of the Philippine revolution are unable to convince those who support Sison in the international liberation movements that the man is passé.

Bert de Belder is fervent in his praise of Sison and his contributions to the annual International Communist Seminar in Brussels, Belgium. Sison’s contributions, de Belder says, expertly analyzes global developments — the worsening poverty, the escalating wars — as expected effects of imperialism and its desperate efforts to survive and recover. Through the years, Sison has made major contributions to the revolutionary struggle of peoples of the world. Unmasking false socialism and denouncing revisionism, Sison is able, through his writings and speeches, help the international liberation movement move forward.

Jose Ma. Sison: Poet, revolutionary, dialectical materialist.

Through the years, however, attention has shifted from Sison the intellectual, poet and internationalist and become focused on Sison the victim of political persecution.

Failing to convince the Filipino people and the international supporters of the Philippine movement for liberation that Sison is a deranged terrorist, Sison’s enemies have resorted to various forms of political harassment.

The Philippines’s premier human-rights defender, Atty. Romy T. Capulong, gives an account of the Public Interest Law Center’s (PILC) attorney-client relationship with Sison, saying that through all his legal struggles, Sison has remained optimistic and unfazed. An ideal client, Capulong calls Sison, because he listens to his lawyers’ advice.

But what makes Sison the ideal client, Capulong also says, is his clear innocence and the inherent worth and dignity in defending him at all cost.

Sison is a man whom all lawyers who passionately believe in upholding justice would love to defend. The man was a former high-profile political detainee whom the Netherlands continues to deny asylum. In recent years he has been tagged and libeled as a terrorist, his meager bank account frozen and his benefits taken away. He has been charged with murder, with inciting to murder, and for being behind the extrajudicial execution of members of the media. In 2007, his home was raided and he himself arrested and detained and placed in solitary confinement for two years.

This aspect of his life alone merits an entire season of a legal soap opera or drama series. In Celebration, Prof. Garry Leupp and attorneys Jan Fermon and Edre Olalia, give accounts of the legal cases Sison has been involved and is involved in. Reading the narratives, one will be struck by how serious the cases are, and how much they actually reveal about the desperation of Sison’s enemies in pinning him down.

What these legal accounts and the testimonies provided by the likes of Prof. Luis Teodoro, Bishop Deogracias Yniguez and Atty. Jose Grapilon, among others, serve to impart to the readers is this: In defending Jose Ma. Sison, we also defend our own rights against injustice and oppression. Sison, after all, has precisely been at the receiving end of so much negative criticism, so many legal attacks because he remains a strong critique of corruption, of injustice, of imperialism and its crimes against the working people and the rest of humanity. Sison uses what remains of his freedom defending the right of Filipinos — and other peoples — to also be free.

Finally, Sison the source of inspiration. Novelist-activist Ninotchka Rosca, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary-general Renato Reyes, and Raul Valle’s essays praise Sison as an individual who inspires the youth and even the nonpolitical.
Reyes says Sison is “timeless,”  referring to how the man through his writings is able to encourage new generations of the Filipino youth to aspire for more beyond material wealth and instead aim for higher ideals. Far from being psychic for being able to “predict” the downfall of tyrants and corrupt presidents and leaders, Sison, according to Reyes, is a dialectical materialist to the core. His “timelessness” can be credited to how Sison remains abreast of global political and economic developments, and how immediately he can analyze and write about the same.

It, is perhaps, Valle’s essay on how he met Sison long, long ago in the underground movement that speaks the most and most poignantly about the man and his mission. Valle paints an image of a man who was lighthearted even in the midst of stressful situations; a man who took care to listen to younger activists and give them advice. Valle’s memories are of a young Sison who was truly hands-on when it came to work, and a Sison who took delight in it even as he was cautious and careful.

Sison’s whole life has been devoted to serving a revolution, and how he has gone about it is worth all the books that have been written about it, the latest being this, Jose Maria Sison A Celebration. Ever hopeful, ever active, always able and willing to to give guidance to the Philippine mass movement which in his youth he took the lead in establishing and strengthening, Sison as seen in the eyes of his friends and supporters is more than a hero or even a genuine revolutionary: He is in the most noble sense of the word, a good man. And a good man is always worth defending.  (

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  1. In an interview with D.L. Mondelo of, CPP founder Jose Ma. Sison lamented that Villar’s programs have been underplayed during the presidential campaign. He said that among Villar’s programs are “land reform and self-reliant food production, expansion of local manufacturing to generate employment, support for small and middle entrepreneurs, peace negotiations, review of the Visiting Forces Agreement, respect for human rights and indemnification of the victims of human rights violations and independent foreign policy.”

    This still bothers me, but perhaps this is just a misstep in an otherwise sterling history of Joma Sison? But how can a Marxist endorse a billionaire to lead one of the poorest countries in Asia? Marx died as a poor man. Yes, Engels, his “rich friend” tidied him through hard times, but he never suggested that a “burgis” would matter as a “saviour” of the oppressed. IMHO, Villar is not a “Robin Hood.” I endorsed BSA3, though Jamby was closer to my heart. Yes, all of them are “burgis.” How about organizing around a real “tao” in future “burgis” elections, next time? Padaca should have run in 2010. Won’t happen in 2016—so long as Philippine politics are all about “siguristang manok.”

  2. very timely…..age defying man..a true hero of the toiling masses…..long live…

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