Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts
Issue No. 20 June 29-July 7, 2001 Quezon City, Philippines
The Communist Party of the Philippines and Plaza Miranda
BY JOSE MARIA SISON
Gregg Jones’ book The Red Revolution first came out, Jose Maria Sison, founder
of the Communist Party of the Philippines and now in exile in the Netherlands,
replied to allegations that he ordered the bombing of the Liberal Party miting
de avance at Plaza Miranda on Aug. 21, 1971. The revival of these allegations by
Jovito Salonga in his new book draws heavily on Jones' book for evidence.
Bulatlat.com reprints Sison’s reply to Jones in full. – Ed.)
and again the Communist Party of the Philippines has vigorously condemned the
Plaza Miranda bombing of August 21, 1971 and has denied having anything to do
with it despite malicious efforts of the Marcos regime to put the blame on the
aforesaid Party and thereby rationalize the suspension of the writ of habeas
corpus in 1971 and subsequently the imposition of martial rule in 1972.
Marcos regime could not build a case even by artifice against the Communist
Party of the Philippines (CPP) and Benigno S. Aquino Jr. despite the regime's
tremendous and unlimited power under martial law.
I was presented to Marcos by my military captors in 1977, he insinuated that I
could get out of prison by cooperating with him and denouncing Benigno S. Aquino
Jr. and a Tarlac unit of the New People's Army as responsible for the Plaza
Miranda bombing. When I was under torture and in protracted solitary
confinement, the most repeated questions and suggestions of my military
interrogators were those calculated to make me and the CPP own the blame for the
Marcos nor the military torturers could force me into making false testimony.
There was simply no evidence against Aquino or anyone in the CPP. Neither Aquino
nor any of the detained members of the Central Committee could be coerced or
cajoled into making any false testimony that would sound credible.
CPP is a highly principled revolutionary organization and decides policies and
major actions through collectives. Not even the CPP chairman can decide and act
on a major matter outside the Executive Committee, the Political Bureau and the
a matter of principle and procedure, he cannot give orders to physically attack
allies. He cannot avoid either the authority or the scrutiny of the central
collectives to which he belongs as well as that of the lower collectives
responsible for the personnel to be ordered to do anything of major significance
some people have surmised, it might be that the Senate investigation ordered by
Senate President Jovito Salonga is calculated to damn Ninoy Aquino and his wife
and retaliate against the expose' of Operation Big Bird.
I think that the US is on top of the Aquino, Salonga and Marcos factions and
that this foreign power is hell-bent on discrediting and destroying the
Communist Party and myself; and is trying to harmonize these factions along the
pro-US, anticommunist line, notwithstanding their rivalries.
is my view that the US is behind all the efforts to try and condemn me by
publicity and to set me up for the kill. First, the character assassination and
then the physical assassination.
should not miss the point that it is Gregg Jones' anticommunist book that has
resumed the campaign of vilification against the CPP and myself regarding the
Plaza Miranda bombing.
book was played up as something backed with "impressive evidence and
logic" and its author was described as a "journalist who was driven to
go to the bottom of things," by Amado Doronilla (Amando Doronilla - Ed.), columnist and editor of
the Manila Chronicle, at the top of the front page for four days.
fact, the book does not offer a single shred of evidence. All the identified,
identifiable and unidentified "sources of information" engage in
hearsay and make speculations and extrapolations from disparate circumstances.
who builds a story on a series of hearsay, too many unidentified sources and
sheer biases of his own and those of others cannot be a good journalist.
Jones claims that his sources of information have lost their fear of talking
about the Plaza Miranda bombing and are holding me and other CPP leaders
responsible for it. And he uses the foul trick of referring to these sources as
"several former top CPP officials," "one founding Communist Party
Central Committee member," "several senior CPP officials,"
"a few young Party officials," “some of the CPP Politburo
members" and "six former ranking CPP officials—including four former
Central Committee members ..." so as to create the impression that quite a
number of high-ranking CPP cadres were falling one on top of the other to
"confess" to him and incriminate me and the CPP.
a close reading and analysis of the footnotes in Chapters 5 and 6 (dealing with
the Plaza Miranda bombing and the experience of some Filipinos in China) show
that Gregg Jones had only six favorite sources of hearsay and multiple hearsay
to build his theory that the CPP and I were responsible for the Plaza Miranda
tries to swindle not only the readers but also his "sources of
information." Sometimes, he pretends to conceal their identity but at other
times in either the chapter text or footnotes he reveals them explicitly or
us take these "sources of information" one by one.
Victor Corpus. In his letter to Pete Lacaba in 1986, Corpus said
categorically that he was present in the alleged planning of the Plaza Miranda
bombing. Let me quote him directly, "I was present when some leaders of the
Party headed by Joma plotted the bombing of the Liberal Party (LP) rally at
accepts this claim to be true. But at the same time, in referring to the same
alleged occasion Corpus points to as the one where the Plaza Miranda bombing was
planned, Jones is caught in self-contradiction and unwittingly exposes Corpus as
a liar by stating:
Sison never spelled out explicitly to his colleagues how he planned to provoke
Marcos. Only later, after the Plaza Miranda bombing, did the rebel leaders in
the Isabela camp understand that Sison had proposed an act of "mass
could there have been "planning" as claimed by Corpus if "Sison
never spelled out how he planned to provoke Marcos"? How could Corpus be
present in any top level planning by the CPP Central Committee or any smaller
organ of the CC about something outside of his jurisdiction? In early 1971 he
had just come from the enemy side and had only recently tried to prove himself
with the raid on the PMA armory.
merely extrapolated the notion that the CPP must have had something to do with
the Plaza Miranda bombing from the fact that it is CPP policy to take advantage
of the crisis of the ruling system and the splits among the reactionaries. This
policy does not mean committing terrorist acts of intrigue at the expense of
actual or potential allies or even at the expense of diehard enemies.
linkage between Corpus' betrayal of the revolutionary movement through his false
testimony and his acquisition of the rank of lieutenant colonel, his New Alabang
Hills house and lot, his car and other new possessions is easier to prove.
On his own, Jones makes the claim that several months in advance I met with three other persons to plan the Plaza Miranda bombing. The claim is automatically recognizable as false and as hearsay because Jones states in his footnote that he got the information from someone who had not been present in the alleged meeting but who had earlier been told by someone who had attended the meeting. It is also ridiculous that Jones gives my alleged co-conspirators and me the powers of clairvoyance and bilocation. The alleged conspirators were in different places at the time cited.
Ariel Almendral. He claims to have been the defense counsel of Danilo
Cordero, when the latter was tried for mutiny in 1972, and to have heard Cordero
and two others before and during the military court trial reveal that they were
responsible for throwing grenades at the LP Plaza Miranda miting de avance
lawyer, any responsible journalist or any layman with a sense of law can
immediately recognize the claims of Almendral as pure hearsay. Worse, Almendral
tries to speak for the dead. This cannot be permitted. It is a principle of law
that no one can act as the speaking medium of the dead.
principle of law is both to protect the living and the memory of the dead. If
this principle is violated and is not upheld, who is going to stop anyone from
claiming, for example, that Ninoy Aquino conspired with communists in the Plaza
Miranda bombing or even in his own assassination.
any rate, according to reliable reports, Danilo Cordero was tried and convicted
for mutiny and conspiring to disarm and arrest the CPP and NPA regional
leadership in 1972. In the earlier course of the trial, he attacked the regional
leadership and even the CPP Central Committee. Then, when he was pinned down on
the specific case against him, he desperately tried to impress the jury that he
was in the confidence of the CC by spinning his yarn about the Plaza Miranda
bombing. Just before his execution, he retracted his story. This is what Corpus
and Almendral deliberately exclude.
two other persons who were supposed to be Manila colleagues of Cordero died as
martyrs in military encounters with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Ruben Guevarra. Not even while he was under military detention, from 1981
onwards, could the Marcos regime and the military get from him any testimony
that could amount to evidence. Like Almendral, he has been reported to be making
mere hearsay since his capture.
a footnote, Jones himself implies that he never saw the so-called voluminous
statement that Guevarra was supposed to have made while under military
detention. He notes, "in addition to interviewing Guevarra, the author
interviewed a senior military officer who read the statement, May 18,
was not brought before any military commission for a long time (more than one
year) after his capture. As soon as he was presented before Military Commission
No. 25, he secured the services of Atty. Mariano Sarmiento and through him as
counsel protested among others his illegal detention and previous deprivation
counsel and right to speedy trial.
In other words, Marcos and the military had all the chances to extract from him whatever they wanted. But obviously, whatever statement he made, if any, could not amount to evidence. Marcos and the military could not successfully invent a case against others about the Plaza Miranda bombing.
Ricardo Malay. Jones pretends to conceal Malay's identity at so many
points in both chapter text and footnotes but names him on one footnote and
points to him through the subject matter and the dates of interview in April
1988 in Holland and November 1988 in the Philippines. He is identifiable from
both the text and the footnotes of Chapter 5 and 6. In fact, Jones fails to
conceal Malay as the starting point and main source of derogatory claims against
is the one who allegedly supplied the hearsay upon hearsay supposedly from
Ibarra Tubianosa about CPP responsibility for the Plaza Miranda bombing. He is
supposed to have claimed that Tubianosa had advance knowledge of the Plaza
Miranda bombing as early as July 1971.
is also made to appear as the one who talked the most about the experience of
some Filipinos in China and who provided the most information and ideas to
bolster the speculative notion that the Plaza Miranda bombing had to be done in
order to produce recruits who would carry the arms flowing from China.
should know that Ricardo Malay has an outlook and mental processes different
from those of his relatives who have distinguished themselves in the national
democratic struggle. He blames Filipino and Chinese communists for his personal
Ibarra Tubianosa. Jones makes him appear as his informant about Filipinos
in China. However, in a footnote, Tubianosa is reported as having refused to
confirm that he had made the hearsay regarding the Plaza Miranda bombing
supposedly adduced to him by Malay. Let me quote the footnote:
I talked to Tubianosa 14 years later, he almost used the same words, though not
naming Sison. "Whoever did that bombing was a madman," he glowered.
CPP had earlier denounced Marcos as the mad bomber. The CPP leadership's
conviction that Marcos was the culprit stemmed from the fact that he and his
confidants clearly fabricated the so-called July-August Plan "to create
regional chaos" and yet they were trying to make the CPP the scapegoat for
all the bombings in Metro Manila.
Jones by the clause "when I talked to Tubianosa 14 years later" seeks
to indicate that Tubianosa has been his source of information on the CPP and
China since 1985. This is patent lie and a clumsy attempt to conceal Ricardo
Malay as his source. As far as I know, Tubianosa returned to the Philippines
only in 1986.
revelations of Primitivo Mijares in his book Conjugal Dictatorship in the
seventies and the public admission of then defense minister Juan Ponce Enrile
during the 1986 EDSA uprising would repeatedly confirm that Marcos was the
mastermind of the Metro Manila bombings in 1971 and 1972.
foregoing alleged sources of Gregg Jones are supposed to be his best. Their
statements, however, amount to nothing but hearsay and slander when these are
subjected to the rules of evidence.
a reportage of anecdotes, Jones seeks at crucial points to caricature and malign
the principal leaders and organizations of the revolutionary movement.
is the principal target. Jones' line of presentation is the following: Here is
Sison, advocate of protracted people's war, but who in fact seeks to win victory
in the revolution in jiffy or by "quantum leap" through an artifice of
a bombing—the Plaza Miranda bombing—and through foreign supplies of arms.
And then Jones gathers hearsay, gossips and speculations to support the thesis.
the edification of all and sundry, the CPP seeks to win the revolution by
arousing the broad masses of the Filipino people along the national democratic
line; organizing them into aboveground and underground mass organizations, broad
alliances and organs of political power; and mobilizing them into campaigns for
basic reforms for their own total liberation against the US and the local
is never any need for the CPP to initiate any crime like the Plaza Miranda
bombing in order to be able to recruit more people for the armed revolution. The
oppressed and exploited workers and peasants are exceedingly numerous and ever
eager to take up arms.
ranks are always far more than the number of arms that can either be seized from
the enemy or imported from abroad. Anyone who has revolutionary work among the
workers and peasants knows that availability of recruits for the New People's
Army is never a problem.
is never any need for the CPP to initiate a crime like the Plaza Miranda bombing
in order to take advantage of the contradictions among the reactionaries. The
crisis of the system and Marcos' propensity for violence and greed produced the
horrible events, from the Plaza Miranda bombing to the assassination of Aquino.
fantastic notion that China is the geographic rear of the Philippines cannot be
reasonably adduced to me. One does not haves to read Specific Characteristics of
People's War in the Philippines to recognize that the Philippines is
archipelagic, has no common land borders with any socialist country and must be
self-reliant. Jones overestimates the value of foreign assistance and then
blames a straw figure for this overestimation.
us now shift our attention the other detractors who take advantage of the Jones
book. If General Ramos and the AFP think that there is a case against the CPP
and myself, they should go to court right away. After all, under Marcos and
Aquino, they have had more than eighteen years to build a case, if any. The
military has failed to file any charge despite repeated announcements that it
will do so and that it is still convincing witnesses to make a case.
what they are doing on behalf of the United States and in furtherance of Ramos'
own presidential ambitions is to recycle the same old lies dished out by Marcos
and the hearsay of military agents, renegades and cranks in order to split the
Aquino and Salonga factions, ameliorate the image of Marcos and Ramos' own
Marcosist background and single mindedly attack the CPP and myself through
Ramos himself should be investigated for his probable complicity in Oplan Double
Strike and Oplan Sagittarius which were exposed by Ninoy Aquino.
the Philippine Senate is not careful, it can get enmeshed in and carried away by
a complex US scheme to upgrade General Ramos and downgrade both the Aquino and
Salonga factions, prettify both the past record and prospect of martial rule,
discredit the CPP and myself and further ensure the perpetuation of the US
military bases in our country through the rise of General Ramos to the
are more credible theories concerning the Plaza Miranda bombing. The most
credible of these involves culpability of Marcos and his military accomplices,
including Ramos. But the US and some local reactionary forces are determined to
focus on a baseless theory against the CPP and myself.
have urged my lawyers, Attys. Romeo Capulong and Arno Sanidad, to defend my
rights and oppose the malicious claims being made against me before any
congressional body or court or any other venue. All efforts need to be exerted
in order to prevent the congressional hearings from becoming a fishing
expedition and a means of trial by publicity.
absence from the Philippines is being taken advantage of by the US and the
military which in the first place have been responsible for the cancellation of
my Philippine passport, my ceaseless persecution and the continuing threat to my
wish that I could be in the Philippines, without the threat of being murdered
like Lando Olalia, Lean Alejandro, in order to make my own declaration and
defend myself. But even if a safe conduct pass were offered to me by the
Philippine Congress or any part of it, there is really no guarantee of
protection for me because of the complexity of the factional strife within the
elite and the informal ways of the mercenaries of the United States within the
Armed Forces of the Philippines.
have already requested my lawyers to consider the following courses of action
and act accordingly.
Represent me in the congressional hearings which are supposed to investigate the
Plaza Miranda bombing, defend my rights, oppose any trial by publicity and any
claim based on lies and hearsay and demand the termination of the hearings
relative to me upon failure by the military and other detractors to put forward
genuine witnesses and evidence.
Challenge the military or any of my accusers to go to court and, if they do not,
then they can go to court in my behalf in order to stop the trial by publicity,
Ask the congressional body to allow a foreign lawyer of mine to join them in
representing me to defend my rights and see to it that due process is adhered
to. His main concern will be to defend my rights under international law. There
is obviously a US-Ramos maneuver to force my exclusion from the coverage of the
Geneva Convention concerning political asylum.
Propose to the congressional body that if it wishes to hear me directly, then it
can authorize some of its members to meet me in a neutral place in the
Netherlands or Switzerland in the presence of my Philippine and foreign lawyers.
Demand that a fair hearing be made before an appropriate body of the United
Nations or any other international forum should it become clear that there is
absolutely no due process for me in the ruling system.
Ask the congressional body to investigate the public admissions of Enrile during
the EDSA uprising and the earlier revelations of the late Primitivo Mijares; and
the findings and claims of the late Benigno Aquino, Raymond Bonner, the former
Mayor Ramon Bagatsing and Col. Felicisimo Lazaro who certainly had more
advantages in terms of time and resources for investigation than one
sensationalist American news stringer or one posing as such more than seventeen
years after the crime. #