MANILA -- Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison is again giving directions to the party, but only on a temporary basis.
An intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Sison has been giving general policies after CPP chairman Benito Tiamzon was arrested three months ago.
“He is giving general policy but he cannot dictate the operations (of the NPA)… They have functional commissions, like the national military commission,” the official explained.
The official said a full-time chairman, from whom the New People’s Army will take orders, will have to be based in the country.
Sison founded the communist party in 1968 and was arrested during the martial law years. He was released from detention in the 1980s and eventually went on exile in Netherlands.
“For sure, Joma wants this,” the official said of Sison’s new role. “There is an organization rift in the CPP. Joma wants peace talks, which is against the position of Tiamzon.”
According to the official, the arrest of Tiamzon and his wife, CPP secretary general Wilma Austria, has already taken a toll on the armed wing of the communist group, with many members already demoralized.
Some have surrendered, while many more were captured, the official said.
The official estimated that it may take at least a year before the CPP appoints a new leader.
“I think this may take one year, if they are to follow the process,” the official said, noting that the new CPP chairman has to be elected by members of the CPP Central Committee. The committee can’t convene immediately, however, because many of its members are in jail or are abroad.
The official said Tiamzon’s successor could be former NPA leader Vic Ladlad, who is also a consultant in the peace talks.
“We have reports that they are eyeing Vic Ladlad as the replacement but he has pending cases and he is already above ground and he is involved in the peace talks. That is why this (assumption) is not going to be automatic,” the official said.