July 11, 2015
On the eve of President Aquino’s 2015 SONA (SONATA???), it is important to report to the authorities (already done) and to the people that opportunities for a final peace agreement with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines/Communist Party of the Philippines should be intensified – on the basis of friendly overtures like those that were patiently and creatively nurtured in the past, as recalled in the following statement on 02 October 2014 to FVR BY PROFESSOR JOSE MARIA SISON, FOUNDING CHAIRMAN, COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE PHILIPPINES AND CHIEF POLITICAL CONSULTANT, NDFP:
“I have always felt a certain degree of kinship with President Fidel V. Ramos because his late mother belonged to the Valdez family of Ilocos Norte. The brother of my Serrano grandmother of Cabugao, Ilocos Sur, was married to a Valdez woman of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, in a grand union of two big landed families of the Ilocos region in the early part of the 20th century.
“When he was young, FVR’s father Narciso R. Ramos worked as a junior lawyer in the law office of an uncle of mine from Lingayen, Pangasinan, Teofilo Sison, who became governor of the province of Pangasinan and the first defense secretary and occupied other cabinet positions in the Commonwealth government of Manuel Quezon.
“However, FVR and I had operated at cross purposes since I became an activist of the national democratic movement in the 1960s and he became known as an intelligence officer of the Philippine Constabulary. His reputation that first reached me was that he was a smart but rabid anti-communist. He served as an officer in the Korean War soon after graduating from West Point and later with the Philippine Civic Action Group in the Vietnam war.
“My adverse attitude towards FVR was reinforced when secret members of the Kabataang Makabayan in the cadet corps of the Philippine Military Academy reported to me that he reprimanded a cadet for asking questions critical of the US when he was a guest speaker in a forum at the PMA in 1965 or thereabouts.
“Whatever FVR may have thought of me at the time I became known as the chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines leading the New People’s Army, I was conscious of fighting a battle of wits with him regarding the formation of the Barrio Self-Defense Units in Tarlac, the many intelligence operations for my capture, the psywar campaigns against the revolutionaries, and the final sustained intelligence dragnet that finally resulted in my capture in Barrio Pagdalagan del Norte in San Fernando, La Union, on November 10, 1977.
“After I was brought to the Constabulary intelligence headquarters in Camp Crame, he came with a group of senior and junior officers to meet me for the first time. He immediately extended his hand but I did not reciprocate. He kept his cool and proceeded to talk in a friendly way. He mentioned that his sister Leticia, who had been my colleague at the English Department of UP before she joined the Department of Foreign Affairs, was appointed Philippine ambassador to Romania. He drew me to a light conversation, after which we shook each other’s hands.
“While I was under maximum security detention at the MSU Compound in Fort Bonifacio from 1977 to 1986, many Constabulary and Army officers came to interview me. I always blocked or parried the intelligence questions that could be harmful to other people and I tried to engage the officers in political discussions on the oppression and exploitation of the people and the possibility of national unity and reconciliation, including the possibility of officers telling Marcos to give up his dictatorship or taking him into custody if he refused.
“The first time I became aware of contradictions between FVR and General Fabian Ver was during breaks in the Military Commission hearings in 1982 or thereabouts when I would overhear pro-Ver officers make jokes or utter snide remarks at the expense of FVR. Later on, through my lawyers, I became aware of the correspondence between Ninoy Aquino and Lorenzo M. Tañada about FVR not getting what is due to him and therefore not feeling happy with Marcos.
“After I became certain that FVR was in serious contradiction with General Ver, especially after the assassination of Ninoy Aquino, I became bolder in telling officers whom I observed to be pro-Ramos to encourage FVR to take the lead in opposing the Marcos dictatorship and in paving the way for national unity and reconciliation. I do not know whether my unsolicited advice ever reached him. But it is fine enough with me that he ultimately rebelled against Marcos and ensured his downfall.
“When the mass movement to oust Marcos from power was on the upsurge after the Aquino assassination and the minions of Marcos were saying that he was irreplaceable, I was interviewed by a Time Magazine correspondent during a break in the session of the Military Commission hearing my case. I said that General Ramos could replace Marcos as Philippine President. That was a time when KOMPIL also listed Cardinal Sin and me as possible replacements for Marcos.
“The last time I met and greeted FVR was at the Labor Day Parade at the Luneta on May 1, 1986, when he was on the right side of President Cory Aquino and I was on her left side at the Quirino grandstand. I did not observe how he reacted when at a certain point during the ceremony the ‘Internationale’ was played and the big hammer of the Kilusang Mayo Uno and the big sickle of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas moved towards each other and united.
“After I left for abroad on August 31, 1986, I watched FVR from afar as an active adversary, especially after the breakdown of the ceasefire agreement in 1987 and the intensification of the campaign of military suppression against the revolutionary movement. But the time came in 1989 when President Cory Aquino, with the knowledge of FVR, sent Rep. Jose ‘Apeng’ V. Yap to Amsterdam, Netherlands, to explore with me the possibility of peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
“Mang Apeng told me that Cory was eager to have the peace negotiations but the Defense Chief General Ramos was being tough by requiring the NDFP to submit itself to the Constitution, government, and army of the GRP, by refusing to release political prisoners who had belonged to the New People’s Army, and by issuing a new order for giving monetary rewards for information on the whereabouts of leading revolutionaries. In fact, what ended the exploratory talks in late 1990 was Cory becoming overcautious after the Noble mutiny in northern Mindanao.
“But when FVR became president in 1992, he sent back Rep. Yap as head of the GRP peace delegation to meet me in The Netherlands. On September 1, 1992, the GRP and NDFP delegations forged The Hague Joint Declaration as framework agreement for peace negotiations. This set forth the:
“(1)objective of addressing the roots of the armed conflict to achieve a just and lasting peace;
“(2)mutually acceptable guiding principles of national sovereignty, democracy and social justice as the guide;
“(3)substantive agenda: respect for human rights and international humanitarian law, social and economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms and the end of hostilities and disposition of forces; and,
“(4)reciprocal working committees as drafting staff of the negotiating panels.
“Quite unexpected from him by many, FVR released all political prisoners and repealed the Anti-Subversion Law in 1992. I thought that he had high self-confidence because he had been an outstanding military officer, loyal to the system, and that no rabid anti-communist in the government could impugn his credentials. I was so impressed with the initial feelers of FVR for peace negotiations with the NDFP that when a journalist asked me whether I would accept a government position if offered by FVR, I answered that I would seriously think about it. However, when Speaker Jose de Venecia came to Utrecht in 1993 and offered Cabinet posts to Luis Jalandoni and me, we politely answered that we wished to focus first on the peace negotiations.
“In the course of the peace negotiations, I was able to talk to FVR by phone a number of times, such as when there was a need to release a NDFP consultant; when he told me that my doctor-brother was around when he (FVR) was being treated for a carotid problem at the Makati Medical Center; and when we congratulated each other for the success of the negotiating panels in forging the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.
“He sent to us emissaries additional to the negotiating panels, like Speaker De Venecia and the late Education Undersecretary Fred Clemente, in order to iron out kinks and facilitate the formal talks. He sent personal letters to me through Ambassador Romeo Arguelles to express condolences on the death of my mother and my sister as well as book gifts through GRP negotiating panel Chairman Howard Dee and official letters through Fred Clemente expressing views on certain issues or appreciation for the release of military and police officers captured and detained by the New People’s Army.
“FVR WAS HANDS ON IN THE PEACE NEGOTIATIONS DURING HIS PRESIDENCY. THE CHAIRMAN OF THE GRP NEGOTIATING PANEL WAS DIRECTLY IN TOUCH WITH HIM. AND HE DID NOT HESITATE TO RECEIVE LUIS JALANDONI, CHAIRMAN OF THE NDFP NEGOTIATING PANEL AT THE PRESIDENTIAL PALACE. IN VIEW OF THE OPENNESS OF FVR, IT IS NOT SURPRISING WHY MORE THAN TEN IMPORTANT AGREEMENTS WERE MADE DURING FVR’S TERM. THESE ARE CREDITS TO HIS LEADERSHIP AND STATESMANSHIP.
“THE SUCCEEDING GRP PRESIDENTS FAILED TO KEEP THE MOMENTUM THAT WAS ESTABLISHED DURING HIS TIME. THEY SHOULD HAVE STUDIED AND LEARNED FROM HIS ACHIEVEMENTS IN PEACE NEGOTIATIONS.” …(Utrecht, Netherlands)
THE BOTTOMLINE: BY NOW, ALL NEGOTIATORS ON BOTH THE GOVERNMENT AND REBEL SIDES SHOULD HAVE LEARNED THAT PEACE – IF IT IS TO SUCCEED ENDURINGLY – MUST BE INCLUSIVE, HONORABLE AND JUST!!!
Read more at http://www.mb.com.ph/kinship-and-encounters-with-fvr/#ZykRj75P1r4c8Zp2.99