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NDFP protests gov’t court’s conviction of Tiamzon and Austria

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Negotiating Panel protests a government court’s conviction of two of its senior peace negotiators as “baseless” and “an act of persecution.”

Reacting to Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 26’s conviction of NDFP peace panel member Benito Tiamzon and consultant Wilma Austria of kidnapping with serious illegal detention, the NDFP said the decision violated the 1956 Hernandez Political Doctrine.

“This doctrine mandates that all alleged acts in pursuit of one’s political beliefs are absorbed, subsumed or integrated in one political crime of rebellion and cannot be mutated into several common crimes as what they were convicted of,” the NDFP said.

The group added that even if both Tiamzon and Austria, alleged leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (NPA), had a hand in the capture of then Philippine Army Lt. and now retired Brigadier General Abraham Claro Casis, the act was “legitimate in the laws of war.”

The court should have considered Casis as among “persons deprived of their liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict” or “prisoners of war” in accordance with the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their 1977 Protocols, the NDFP said.

1988 capture

In his decision, Judge Alfonso Ruiz II said he gave “full faith and credit” to Casis’ testimony that, while detained, he saw Tiamzon and Austria in meetings with the NPA.

Casis said they were on their way to Manila on June 1, 1988 when captured by the NPA at the border of Tiaong and Candelaria towns in Quezon Province.

They were released after two months of captivity on August 12 of that year by the late NPA spokesperson Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal.

The NDFP however questions the credibility of Casis’ testimony as recalled “with unbelievable magical throwback powers.”

It said the incident happened “a good three decades ago in a case long archived and dismissed against many other accused but just recently politically excavated by the militarist hawks of the (Rodrigo) Duterte regime.”

The NDFP said it found unbelievable that the lone witness “can vividly remember minute details, names, faces, places and events that happened in 1988.”

The group also said the court’s decision suffered from “sweeping and conclusory inferences of conspiracy by mere alleged presence” of the accused.

JASIG-protected

The NDFP said the Tiamzons were also denied due process because of their involuntary inability to personally present their own defense “due to the real and imminent threat on their lives conducted under the baton of no less the GRP Principal, President Rodrigo Duterte.”

It said that as publicly-known NDFP peace negotiators, the Tiamzons should be immune from surveillance, harassment, search, arrest, detention, prosecution and interrogation or any other similar punitive actions under the subsisting 1995 GRP-NDFP Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

The group said the JASIG remains effective and demandable despite its questionable termination by the GRP and regardless of the status of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.

“And this is precisely the raison d’ etre for it (reason for being), i.e. to encourage participation by ensuring subsequent protection,” the NDFP said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Peace advocates slam red-tagging as a ‘work of evil’; call for peace talks resumption

By Joseph Cuevas

Peace advocates held a media briefing last Wednesday, November 11, to condemn red and terror-tagging activities they say undermine efforts to resume peace negotiations between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).

The group Pilgrims for Peace pointed out that if the GRP still wants to resume negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and New People’s Army (NPA), it should stop calling the underground groups as terrorists.

It also pointed out that the NDFP is not classified as a terrorist organization even in the government’s own official pronouncements.

The advocates are dismayed that “war and terror-mongering are rearing their ugly heads once again, as a dominant trend in the current conduct by the GRP.”

Fr. Christopher Ablon of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente described the red-tagging activities of government agencies such as the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police and some officials of the government as a “work of evil” that directly hurts peace efforts.

Ablon cited that six out of seven victims of extra-judicial killings of church workers and peace advocates red-tagged.

Not terrorist organizations

Atty. Edre Olalia, legal consultant of the NDFP, said that red-tagging and vilification violates the presumption of innocence and human rights of target, especially the right to association.

The practice of red-tagging, especially by the state forces and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, has no other real purpose but to silence dissent and criticism and repress opposition and counter-narratives against government policies and actions, Olalia explained.

“Red-tagging together with the draconian measures like the newly signed Anti-Terrorism Law turn the state forces and machinery against such unarmed civilians and groups who are exercising their basic rights and fundamental freedoms in a democratic society,” Olalia said.

Olalia pointed-out that the CPP-NPA-NDF possesses a level of legitimacy while their armed resistance abide by standards set by the United Nations resolutions and conventions.

“The CPP and NPA have not been listed as a terrorist organizations by the United Nations and the NDFP has never been [listed as] a terrorist organizations in any country,” Olalia added.

Olalia said that red-tagging conditions the mind of the public to eventually designate legal organizations and individuals as terrorists by the Anti-Terrorism Council.

NDFP peace consultant and long-time activist Rafael Baylosis stressed that CPP-NPA-NDF must not be called terrorist organizations but entities fighting for national liberation and democracy for the people.

Talks resumption

Baylosis said that peace negotiations must be resumed and the Duterte government should rescind its terrorist proclamation of the CPP and the NPA.

He also called on the government to respect previous agreements signed by both parties.

Baylosis recalled the cancelled fifth round of peace talks last 2018 that was set to sign the Interim Peace Agreement that included the common draft on social and economic reforms, the coordinated and unilateral ceasefire, and release of all political prisoners thru general amnesty.

Pilgrims for Peace encouraged the GRP to consider resuming the peace talks anew in order to address the root cause of armed conflict through peace negotiations. #

Paramilitary leaders’ death brings ‘deep sense of justice,’ Reds say

Hawudon Jomar Bucales’ death last Sunday brought “a deep sense of justice” to the people of the community, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said in announcing it was the New People’s Army (NPA) that ambushed and killed the leader of the paramilitary group Magahat-Bagani.

The CPP hailed the death of Bucales, calling him a mastermind of the brutal murders of tribal leaders and a school director in September 1, 2015 that later became known as the Lianga Massacre.

“The NPA unit in Surigao del Sur deserves the highest commendation. The Party and the Filipino people congratulate them for their success,” the group said.

“The broad masses of Lianga celebrate the successful NPA ambush. They feel a deep sense of justice with the death of Bucales,” it added.

A spot report by the Lianga police said the October 4 incident in Sitio Mamsapranon, Barangay Banahao also killed one Alberto Belonio Dela Peña and wounded paramilitary troopers Ronald Acevedo and Artemio Muldes as well as their companion Oliver Rosaldo.

A statement by the 3rd Special Forces Battalion of the Philippine Army said Muldes also died.

Bucales and party were on their way home on board two motorcycles from an Indigenous Peoples’ Mandatory Representative (IPMR) meeting in Barangay San Isidro when waylaid by the NPA’s Guerilla Front 19, the police report said.

A 25-minute gun battle ensued that ended when the guerrillas withdrew, it added.

Massacre mastermind

The CPP said Bucales played a key role in the murder of the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV) executive director Emerito Samarca and Lumad leaders Dionel Campos and Datu Bello Sinzo in 2015.

 In a House of Representatives hearing on November 11, 2015, Bucales seemingly justified the massacre by accusing the award-winning school for Lumad children of brainwashing its graduates to later join the NPA.

“Siya ang naglalason sa mga tao…Iyan ang rason, kasi iyong mga graduate ng ALCADEV, pumupunta sa kilusan,” Bucales said.

 (He [Samarca] poisoned the minds of the people…That was the reason, because ALCADEV graduates later joint the [communist] movement.)

The murders prompted then Surigao del Sur Governor Johnny Pimentel, now the province’s Second District Representative, to demand the Magahat-Bagani’s disbandment, calling it a “monster created by the military.”

Senator Koko Pimentel and former Senator Teofisto Guingona III also called for the arrest of Bucales and other leaders of the paramilitary during a Senate inquiry on the massacre.

They were ignored by government security forces , however, allowing Bucales to roam free in Andap Valley, a mining hotspot of the country.

The CPP said a “people’s court” had previously been formed to try Bucales and others for the Lianga Massacre where the Magahat-Bagani leader’s key role in the murders were pointed out.

The group said Bucales ignored their summons and refused to stand trial.

Continuing threats against Lumad schools

The CPP also said Bucales’ Magahat-Bagani received guns, funding and publicity support from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and mining companies operating in the area.

“He and his paramilitary group were being misrepresented as ‘NPA surrenderees’ by the 3rd Infantry Battalion in order to funnel funds for counterinsurgency into their pockets. Endorsed by the military, he was appointed by Lianga town officials as its Mandatory Indigenous Peoples Representative, the CPP said.

The CPP said Bucales has recently been issuing renewed threats against the leaders of the ALCADEV community school in behalf of the military.

“In recent months, the people of Lianga have been subjected to intense militarization, aerial bombings and gross human rights abuses, in order to break the people’s resistance to the further aggression of mining operations in their areas,” the CPP said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Left to discuss peace talks resumption with Leni

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) said it plans to engage in discussions with Vice President Leni Robredo for the resumption of its peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).

Recently-appointed NDFP Negotiating Panel interim chairperson Julie de Lima said the Left should “engage the (GRP’s) constitutional successor to press for the resumption of the peace negotiation as a rallying point in the effort to oust [GRP President Rodrigo] Duterte,” the Communist Party of the Philippines’ Ang Bayan reported.

“[T]he NDFP, including its panel, should hold discussions with opposition parties, in particular, the Liberal Party,” de Lima told the underground newsletter.

She added that prospects for resuming the peace negotiations after Duterte, whether he is ousted or he finishes his term, “are possible and desirable.”

De Lima pointed out the peace negotiations can immediately resume on the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) once Duterte is out of office.  

Duterte cancelled the peace negotiations in July 2017 as both the GRP and NDFP were ready to finalize important agreements under the CASER.

Prior to her new appointment, de Lima is a long-time NDFP Negotiating Panel member and head of its Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms.

CASER to combat COVID-19

The CASER, de Lima said, has relevant provisions on confronting the issue of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The draft agreement has a whole article consisting of seven sections which are devoted to the discussion of the people’s right to health. This includes the establishment of a universal public health system that provides free, comprehensive and quality health services for all,” de Lima explained.

The CASER provides immediate and adequate financial, material, moral and psychosocial support, ensuring disaster preparedness and respons, and holding criminally and civilly liable corrupt and grossly negligent officials, she added.

“The NDFP and GRP can elaborate on the issue based on a summing up of experience and learning lessons from both sides as well as from the positive and negative practices of foreign countries and international agencies in responding and confronting this particular pandemic as well as other pandemics.”

Robredo has yet to respond to Kodao’s request for a reply to de Lima’s statement. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NPA to give military honors to Fidel Agcaoili tomorrow

The New People’s Army (NPA) ordered all its units to render military honors to the late National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Negotiating Panel chairperson Fidel Agcaoili on the occasion of his 76th birth anniversary tomorrow, Saturday.

“On August 8, Day of Remembrance and Tribute to Ka Fidel, all units of the NPA are directed, wherever they may be encamped, to go on formation at the break of dawn, hoist the banners of the Party, NPA and the NDF, present arms, and sing The Internationale as a way of remembering and giving Ka Fidel our snappiest Red salute,” the guerrilla army’s National Operations Command (NOC) said.

Agcaoili died of pulmonary arterial rupture in Utrecht, The Netherlands where the NDFP International Office is based last July 23.

He was cremated after a solemn tribute ceremony in Utrecht last July 31. His ashes will be eventually flown home to the Philippines in accordance with his family’s wishes.

In a statement Thursday, August 6, NPA spokesperson Jorge Madlos said they were deeply shocked and saddened by news of Agcaoili’s untimely death and extended the guerrilla army’s heartfelt sympathies to the wife, children, grandchildren, friends and colleagues of the late chief negotiator.

“Ka Fidel was a respected and beloved leader of the Filipino people and revolutionary movement. He upheld the interests and cause of the toiling masses and all the oppressed classes in Philippine society,” Madlos said.

The rebel spokesperson said Agcaoili  had always marched along the straight path of revolutionary struggle from his youth until his senior years for more than five decades.

“Although he came from a well-off family, Ka Fidel chose the path of simple living and all-out and dangerous struggle. Ka Fidel’s life, his militance, commitment and determination to advance the revolutionary struggle for national freedom and social liberation will forever serve as inspiration for all Red fighters of the NPA and for the Filipino people,” Madlos added.

Madlos recalled that wherever Agcaoili was assigned and whatever the task given him by the revolutionary movement his desire to see an end to “the oppression and exploitation of the Filipino people, as well as all the peoples of the world was always foremost in his mind.”

“It is clear that Ka Fidel was imbued with the communist spirit of selfless service to all oppressed and exploited,” Madlos said.

“The NPA recognizes and expresses its gratitude for the leadership and all the contributions of Ka Fidel, from the period of nationwide building of the Party and people’s army, to the struggle against the Marcos dictatorship, to helping develop international anti-imperialist solidarity of all the oppressed classes, and in ably representing the entire revolutionary movement in various stages of peace negotiations,” he said.

“The NPA upholds the highest tribute of the Party’s Central Committee to Ka Fidel and recognition as a hero of the Philippine revolution,” Madlos ended. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NDFP bids farewell to Fidel Agcaoili

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) International Office bid its final farewell to NDFP Negotiating Panel chairperson Fidel Agcaoili in a solemn ceremony at one o’clock Friday afternoon, July 31, in Utrecht, The Netherlands (8 pm Philippine time).

His remains were cremated after the ceremony that was streamed online for select comrades, colleagues and friends worldwide.

Agcaoili died of pulmonary arterial rupture last July 23 in the Dutch city where the group’s peace panel and international office is located.

NDFP Senior Adviser Luis Jalandoni gives Agcaoili a last militant salute. (Photo by Nwel Saturay/Kodao)

His remains will be flown home to the Philippines, the NDFP said.

A tribute is planned for Agcaoili in Europe on August 8 when he would have turned 76 years old.

The Communist Party of the Philippines has declared the same day as Fidel Agcaoili National Day of Remembrance and Tribute all over the country. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

CPP declares August 8 as Fidel Agcaoili Day of Remembrance

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) declared August 8 to be its National Day of Remembrance and Tribute to Fidel Agcaoili, National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Negotiating Panel chairperson, who died last week, July 23.

Agcaoili would have turned 76 years old on August 8.

“The Central Committee calls on all revolutionary forces, progressives, patriotic and democratic forces, migrants and other oppressed sectors, political detainees, as well as various anti-imperialist organizations and personalities across the globe to conduct tribute meetings and other activities wherever they may be to commemorate and celebrate Ka Fidel’s life of struggle and service to the people and revolution,” the CPP’s Central Committee in a statement Wednesday, July 29, said.

Agcaoili died of pulmonary arterial rupture at the NDFP International Office in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

His remains are scheduled to be cremated Friday, July 31 in the Dutch City. His ashes will be eventually flown home to the Philippines, the NDFP said.

In its statement, the CPP said the entire revolutionary movement mourns the passing of who they regard “a hero of the Filipino revolution,” one who “gave blood and sweat, and time and talent to advance the Filipino people’s great cause to achieve national and social liberation, as part of advancing the international working class movement for socialism and communism” for five decades.

The group recalled that Agcaoili joined the Student Cultural Association of the University of the Philippines in the 1960s and helped found the Kabataang Makabayan in 1964. He was later elected to the CPP’s Central Committee in 1970.

Agcaoili was captured in 1974 along with wife Rosario and their two sons. He spent nearly 11 years in jail as the longest-held political prisoner under Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law, enduring intense physical and psychological torture, including solitary confinement.

Upon his release, Agcaoili co-founded the human rights group Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) and the political party Partido ng Bayan and helped in the preparations of the 1986-1987 peace negotiations between the NDFP and the Corazon Aquino government.

In 1988, Agcaoili sought refuge in Spain due to threats from rightist elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and joined the NDFP Negotiating Panel in 1989.

He took over from long-time NDFP chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni in October 2016.

Facilitators of the Royal Norwegian Government praised Agcaoili as a negotiator.

‘Kind, dedicated negotiator’

In a tweet, Norwegian Special Envoy to the Philippine Peace Process Idun Tvedt sais she is “deeply saddened by the sudden death” of Agcaoili.

 “He was a professional and dedicated negotiator in the search for a peace solution to the armed conflict in the Philippines. We send our heartfelt condolences to his family,” Tvedt said.

Elisabeth Slattum, Tvedt’s predecessor, for her part said Agcaoili was a negotiator “with great dedication and heart for the cause.”

“In the numerous meetings and rounds of negotiation that took place in 2016-2017, he was always kind, respectful and cooperative to the Norwegian facilitators. I will remember him fondly, and I’m sending my heartfelt condolences to his wife and family,” Slattum said.

The CPP said Agcaoili’s contributions are thousands of strands woven into the broad fabric of the Filipino people’s struggle.

“His memory will always remain in the people’s hearts and will inspire them as they tread the difficult path of the national democratic and socialist revolutions,” the CPP said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Kometa

Alay kay Fidel V. Agcaoili

Ni Jenny Linares

Maraming taong halos pahapyaw lang
kung dumaan sa ating uniberso.

Palagi na lang, kapag ako,
hindi ko na inaabutan
ang makikinang na bituin.

Masyado ba akong bata o masyadong ligaw
na kaluluwa?

Malalaman ko na lang na naririyan pala sila kapag sila’y bumulusok na,
tulad ng maningning na kometa,

nagniningning pa rin siya
kahit ang baya’y nanatili sa dilim,

siya’y liwanag at apoy, hanggang sa magmaliw,

hindi ko man nasulyapan,
bahagya man lamang sa buhay ko’y dumaan,

kayo’y naririto pala,
kayo’y naririto pa rin,
kayo’y mananatili sa alaala
nitong bayang pinag-alayan
ng iyong mga adhikai’t dusa.

Alaala at Pagkilala kay Ka Juaning Rivera

IN HONOR OF COMRADE JUANITO (KA JUANING) RIVERA
By Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairman, Communist Party of the Philippines
July 6, 2020

I wish to express sincerest condolences to the family of Comrade Juanito (Ka Juaning) Rivera and to all the comrades who have worked closely with him, loved him and are now saddened by his passing away.

This is a time of grief. But it is also the time for honoring Ka Juaning and celebrating all his achievements in serving the people, especially the proletariat and the peasant masses, as a communist, a Red commander and mass leader of vast experience.

As Chairman of the Central Committee and Military Commission of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), I had the honor of co-founding the New People’s Army with Ka Juaning on March 29, 1969 in Talimundok (Sta. Rita), Capas, Tarlac.

We were also together in the Plenum of the CPP Central Committee in May 1969 when he, together with other peasant cadres and veterans of the old Communist Party and the Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan were elevated to membership in the Central Committee of the CPP.

Being a peasant himself and having led the peasant masses as a revolutionary cadre and barrio captain, he understood very well the problems of the peasant masses in the haciendas of Tarlac and in the entire Philippines.

He excelled at arousing, organizing and mobilizing the masses in carrying out land reform and raising production, undertaking social programs and training mass activists for Party membership, mass work and service in the people’s army.

We worked together in providing politico-military training to the revolutionary activists from the national capital region and the expansion teams of the NPA for Isabela, other provinces of Central Luzon and for the Southern Tagalog and Western Visayas regions.

Thus, he made significant contributions to building the foundation and immediate expansion of the CPP, the NPA, the mass organizations and the local organs of political power. At the same time, he was always mindful of the concrete improvement of the lives of the people.

He made sure that the peasant masses built better houses and ate better as a result of their gains from land reform. He was strict at banning drinking and gambling places. And he promoted cultural activities that spread the revolutionary message among the youth and the people.

When the headquarters of the CPP shifted to the Isabela forest region, Ka Juaning came for meetings of the Political Bureau and the Central Committee and always contributed substantial reports and recommendations and participated in deliberations and decision-making.

Up to the time of my capture in 1977, I knew Ka Juaning as a dedicated, competent and effective proletarian revolutionary fighter and ever loyal servant of the people. Thus, he assumed higher responsibilities in the CPP, the NPA and revolutionary movement while I was in prison.

I am aware that after his imprisonment his health condition did not permit him to go back to the armed revolutionary movement. He went back to farming and was always proud of the lasting effects of land reform carried out by the revolutionary movement. And he devoted himself to promoting agricultural cooperatives.

I was pleased when then Rep. Jose Yap (Mang Aping) informed me that he had engaged Ka Juaning as a peace consultant at the time explorations and preparations for peace negotiations were being done in the period of 1989 to 1992.

Mang Aping and I always wished that Ka Juaning could travel to The Netherlands. But his health condition did not allow him to take a long flight. From a distance, I continued to admire him for his continuing service to the peasant masses and the interviews that he gave to journalists, social researchers and peace advocates.

Ka Juaning has lived a long and rich life of service of the people, faced grave risks and dangers to his life and surmounted tremendous odds in fighting for the people’s just cause and struggle for national and social liberation against foreign and feudal domination. He is an outstanding and inspiring historical revolutionary figure, whose example is worthy of emulation by the people and the revolutionary movement.

Long live the memory of Comrade Juanito (Ka Juaning) Rivera!
Emulate his revolutionary service to the Filipino people!
Carry out the people’s democratic revolution until total victory!

A revolutionary and peace warrior’: Tributes pour in for NDFP’s Fidel Agcaoili

Tributes are pouring in for National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Negotiating Panel chairperson Fidel Agcaoili hours after the group’s international information office confirmed his passing in Utrecht, The Netherlands due to pulmonary arterial rupture .

READ: BREAKING: NDFP’s Fidel Agcaoili dies

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said Filipino communists and revolutionaries feel a deep sense of sorrow and loss with Agcaoili’s passing.

“He was one of the most beloved and respected leaders of the Party, the NDFP and the Filipino people,” the CPP said in a statement.

“Over the past decades, from the underground movement, to inside prison, to international work and peace negotiations, [Agcaoili] untiringly struggled with the Filipino people and served the revolutionary movement and all the oppressed and exploited classes to achieve national and social liberation,” the group added.

The CPP said Agcaoili firmly upheld its principles at all times and he was imbued with the communist spirit to his last breath.

“The Party and all revolutionary forces, including all Red fighters of the New People’s Army, are in mourning,” the CPP said.

Agcaoili’s government counterpart, labor secretary Silvestre Bello III, told Kodao he joins all peace-loving Filipinos in grieving the passing of a revolutionary whose passion for peace is as ardent as his love for structural change on the land of his birth.

“Ka Fidel V. Agcaoili, my counterpart in the peace table in our efforts to try to end the decades-long armed conflict with the CPP-NPA (New People’s Army)-NDF, was a man of honor and conviction,” Bello said.

Bello added that Agcaoili was an instrument in making the mostly arduous tasks of talking peace smoother and a bit easier.

“It is just sad that Ka Fidel will no longer savor the lasting peace with justice that he was pursuing with passion. Goodbye to a dear friend, a revolutionary and a peace warrior,” Bello said.

Former Quezon City mayor Herbert Bautista, who served as adviser to the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) Negotiating Panel from 2016, said Agcaoili’s death is “sad news.”

“He was kind. He was flexible on the negotiating table yet strict and firm on principles,” Bautista, a Brigadier General of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Reserve Command, added.

Tributes from journalists

Journalists who covered the NDFP-GRP peace process only have kind words for Agcaoili.

“[The news] came as a shock. He was a generous news source, always eager to clarify issues with journalists. He will be missed,” GMA reporter Raffy Tima told Kodao.

Danny Buenafe (right) talks to (from left) Fidel Agcaoili, Jose Maria Sison and Luis Jalandoni. [Photo from Danny Buenafe]

Veteran ABS-CBN broadcaster Danny Buenafe said he had a good time covering the peace talks for more than three decades in large part because of Agcaoili.

“He was tough in taking a stand, but we all know he has a soft spot with journalists when requesting for interviews. Ka Fidel was kind and accessible with us media persons,” Buenafe said.

Buenafe, Europe-based for many years, added Agcaoili was probably the toughest among the so called three “Supremos” (top leaders), the two others being NDFP Negotiating Panel chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison and 20-year NDFP chief negotiator and Agcaoili’s direct predecessor Luis Jalandoni.

“Personally, I found Ka Fidel as the heart of the revolutionary struggle with his decisive character in the negotiating table. Ka Joma (Sison) provides the deeper intellectual discourse, and Ka Louie (Jalandoni) the fatherly approach with the soft touch. Ka Fidel provided a good balance that makes the NDF position solid,” Buenafe said.

The now retired ABS-CBN Europe Bureau Chief said he can never forget being fetched by Agcaoili and wife Rosario at the Utrecht Grand Central Station to attend a small birthday gathering for NDFP peace panel member Julie Sison at a public park several years ago.

“We will all miss him. Rest in peace, Ka Fidel,” Buenafe said.

Friends grieve

Human rights lawyer Ma. Sol Taule said Agcaoili was among the rights defenders she looked up to.

“We recognize and value his unrelenting efforts for a just and lasting peace. He (was) the boomer we all aspire to be,” Taule wrote on Facebook.

Distant relative and retired University of the Philippines professor Aurelio Solver Agcaoili for his part said Agcaoili’s death is a loss to the Filipino people.

“But we gained something [in his passing]: The thought and the resolve to do things right for our suffering people,” he told Kodao.

The CPP said it will announce the day for mourning, giving honor, and remembering Agcaoili whose remains will be flown to the Philippines in accordance with the wishes of his family.

 “In behalf of the entire Philippine revolutionary movement, the (CPP) extends deep sympathies to the wife and children of Ka Fidel V. Agcaoili, chairperson of the Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP),” the CPP said. (Raymund B. Villanueva)