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Did PNP crack CPP top leadership?

Sinas’ statement was only meant to scratch the surface of the long-running Maoist insurgency months after his crew had shaken the CPP’s core by allegedly dismantling the top leadership of the CPP and its Manila-Rizal Regional Party Committee.

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The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday disclosed that it is closely trailing the activities of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison and other left-leaning personalities following the Maoist group’s threats to reactivate partisan units in cities around the country.

Mostly monitored, PNP chief PGen. Debold Sinas said, are the online presence of the Maoist leaders responsible for the claim that the CPP is recalling its urban guerillas.

Daily Tribune sources, however, claimed that Sinas’ statement was only meant to scratch the surface of the long-running Maoist insurgency months after his crew had shaken the CPP’s core by allegedly dismantling the top leadership of the CPP and its Manila-Rizal Regional Party Committee (MRRPC).

It was the arrest of seven political activists on early morning of 10 December 2020 — celebration of the World Human Rights Day — that reportedly triggered Sison to declare his threat to revive the New People’s Army (NPA) urban guerilla units on 31 December 2020.

Nabbed during those operations were Marc Ryan Cruz, Romina Raisell Astudillo, Jaymie Gregorio, Denisse Velasco, Joel Demate, Rodrigo Esparago, and a certain Lady Anne Salem, who all held important positions in above-ground organizations said to be influenced by the CPP.

Cruz and Astudillo, however, are said to be the secretary and deputy secretary of the MRRPC Regional Trade Union Bureau. The five others arrested with them on that day are also said to be MRRPC officials.

On 10 August, Anakpawis chair Randall Echanis was allegedly murdered by state forces who forcibly entered his rented Quezon City house. Later autopsy of his body showed torture marks and a stab to the aorta. Not a gunshot wound was seen by doctors who performed a physical examination on his body.

Prior to his death, Echanis was reportedly elected as CPP chair while Sison remains in exile and couple Benito and Wilma Tiamzon were behind bars. The CPP described Echanis as “among the pioneers of the New People’s Army (NPA) during its period of expansion and growth in the northern Luzon regions.”

Sison said the urban partisan groups would counter the anti-insurgency operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), PNP, and other paramilitary forces “against unarmed activists and civilians in urban areas.”

The NPA reportedly has a standing order “to form partisan teams to mete out punishment against enemy units and officers who have committed bloody crimes against the people.”

It was the CPP’s MRRPC that formed the Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB), popularly known as the Sparrow Unit, which served as the party’s partisan operatives in the major industrial cities in the 1980s.

The ABB or the Sparrow Unit was responsible for the assassination of several police officers.

Its most controversial hit was that of Col. James N. Rowe, an American military advisor at the Joint US Military Advisory Group (JUSMAG), in 1989.

The MRRPC, however, declared its autonomy from the CPP’s Central Committee led by “Armando Liwanag” said to be Sison’s nom de guerre, in 1993. That declaration also split the CPP in various splinters, including the legal organizations it had influenced. The ABB or Sparrow Unit had dissolved since then.

In a press briefing in Camp Crame, Sinas said police units are observing whether Sison and his group would make good their threats of the ABB’s revival. He also disclosed that cases would be filed against members of the CPP and its armed unit NPA.

“We are watching them, we can’t just file cases against them. We will refer to our legal service on what steps to take,” stated Sinas. “But, of course, we are not taking their threats lightly. We are in coordination with our counterparts with the AFP regarding this.”

Like the AFP, Sinas downplayed the threat and insisted that the PNP ensures that communists have no wiggle room to launch any form of attack against the public, uniformed ranks, and those in government.

“We have always been vigilant. We are on guard. As for the question of whether or not we have caught wind of legitimate threats from the NPA, I’d rather not say due to security reasons,” Sinas said.

 

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