The collapse of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is on its founder Joma Sison himself as Bobi Tiglao points out in his Manila Times piece today “The Communist Party is dying of old age”.
The party has become pathetic, as the baby boomers that led it are apparently unaware, they are in the twilight of their lives, and there is no proletarian heaven where they can be with Lenin and Mao. Many are unable to live with their grown-up children who detest them for having abandoned them to their grandparents, or fear being involved with a fugitive from the law.
Those who have become useless to the party because of old age and sickness find themselves without “retirement” pay, and of course no savings, as the organization’s sources of funding from loggers and miners in the 1970s ad telecom firms have dried up. There are no homes for the elderly for retired cadres.
The Reds made a strategic error of not participating in the snap election of 1986 by not coming out for Cory Aquino. Still, the late former Senator Ninoy Aquino’s promise was honored with their release from detention. In the spirit of the newfound “democratic space,” they made their presence felt through their front organizations. This led to the break with Cory of the rightists in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) which put her in power. The Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) broke from the government and up to 1989, the streets of Metro Manila was the battleground between the Left and the Right. The vaunted Alex Boncayao Brigade trained in Davao’s “Nicaragdao” and operated in the National Capital Region (NCR) bagging Col. Rolando Abadilla and Col. Laudemere Kahulugan, both retired. The RAM got back at them with Rolando Olalia and Lean Alejandro. In between, they mounted coup attempts and destabilization ops against the Cory administration. The coup attempts and the labor strikes of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) paralyzed the economy which led to President Fidel Ramos brokering peace deals with both sides after he won in 1992. The Communist Party of the Philippines was legalized and the enabling law for party-list groups was passed by Congress, paving the way for the front organizations to participate in elections.
The problem with the Left is it constantly prostitutes itself in a bid to get a seat at the leadership table. It supported Joseph “Erap” Estrada in 1998 through Boy Morales and Edicio De La Torre. It proceeded to dump Erap by supplying the crowd at EDSA 2. It turned against then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) after her break with Cory. It grew under the administration of President Noynoy Aquino but not after the split between the Sison loyalists which led to the formation of Akbayan by Ronald Llamas, who led the rejectionists. The split led to separate peace deals in the regions. It supported Grace Poe in 2016 only to switch to Rodrigo Duterte at the last minute when it was clear he would win. Duterte made history by apportioning three Cabinet departments for them in his bid to finally make the peace and end the insurgency during his time. He was still unsuccessful because of the impossible demand of power-sharing without benefit of election. Duterte released all CPP-NPA leaders in detention who then made the pilgrimage to Utrecht and pay their respects to Sison.
The 2019 midterm election saw the Reds coalesce with the Yellows again with disastrous results. Their prospects are again dim for 2022 as both the Yellows and the Reds have shallow leadership benches. Duterte has ordered the AFP to go after the top leaders who have again gone underground after the peace talks ended. The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) has clamped down hard on their activities. Even national artist for literature F. Sionil Jose has declared the communists passé. It’s only a matter of time now. Sison will never surrender nor abandon his cause. When he dies, the movement dies with him as well.