CPP confirms death of NPA national commander

Joma Sison says Villanueva was captured, tortured and executed

[UPDATED] The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) confirmed the death of New People’s Army’s (NPA) national commander Menandro Villanueva but said he and one other were captured alive last Christmas eve and later summarily executed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

CPP founding chairperson Jose Maria Sison in his tribute said Villanueva and one Sandra Reyes were captured alive last December 24-25 but were later declared killed in separate incidents.

“But Ka [Comrade] Sandra (Reyes) would be reported to the press by the reactionary military as killed in action on December 25,” Sison, quoting a report from the CPPs Mindanao Commission, said.

“On January 5, 2020, the reactionary military one-sidedly fired several rounds of Howitzer artillery at Libodon, Mabini and despite no encounter with the NPA subsequently claimed on January 6 that Ka Menandro had been killed in action in the non-encounter of January 5, 2022,” he said.

“Obviously, he was tortured for at least ten days before he was murdered,” Sison added.

Sison’s statement countered the announcement by the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) of the AFP on Friday that Villanueva was killed in an encounter with government troops.

EastMinCom commander Lt. Gen. Greg Almerol in a statement said Villanueva was one of the founding members of the NPA in Mindanao during the 1970s.

Almerol said that Villanueva became a member of the Kabataang Makabayan as an Ateneo de Manila University student who went underground when Martial Law was declared.

“Villanueva was the longest-serving secretary of the NPA’s Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) and currently the secretary of Komisyong Mindanao (KOMMID), commanding officer of the NPA’s National Operations Command (NOC) and member of the POLITBURO (political bureau) of the (CPP),” the military added.

AFP target

Known in the underground revolutionary movement as Ka (Comrade) Bok, Ka Jude and Ka Gipo, Villanueva was around 70 years old at the time of his death, the CPP said.

The CPP said Villanueva had been a long-standing AFP target because he successfully led the Party and its armed revolution in Southern Mindanao from one level to another.

“It is a testament to the strength, resilience, and guerrilla discipline of the NPA, and extensive and deep support of the broad masses for the people’s army that it took the enemy more than a decade—spending billions of pesos in relentless military operations, aerial bombings, artillery shelling, occupation of communities, and terrorizing the peasants and Lumad masses—before it could finally vanquish Ka Bok,” the CPP said.

“His death is mourned by the Party, the NPA and all revolutionary forces, and by the broad masses of workers and peasants, especially the downtrodden people in the hinterlands of the Davao provinces, whom he dearly served over the past several decades,” the CPP added.

The group acknowledged that Villanueva’s death is “a big loss.”

“But this setback is only temporary and will be surmounted in due time. A number of Party cadres and NPA commanders, veterans in people’s war, as well as young leaders trained by Ka Bok and steeled in military and political work, are primed to take his place and perform his duties,” the CPP said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)