Ex-rebels regret joining leftist movement

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 14 2019 06:10 PM | Updated as of Aug 14 2019 06:32 PM

Former communist rebels speak at a Senate hearing on August 14, 2019 on the alleged recruitment of young students into the leftist movement. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Former communist rebels who were recruited during their early years in the university on Wednesday expressed regrets for joining the leftist movement.

The former rebels faced the second hearing of the Senate public order committee on the alleged recruitment of leftist groups of young students in colleges and universities around the country.

One of the former rebels, former Mindanao State University student Nancy Dologuin, said she joined the League of Filipino Students (LFS) under the Gabriela Women’s group in 2006.

She said she was enticed to joined because being a victim of an attempted rape, her values were aligned with what the group was fighting for.

“Mayroon akong hinanakit sa loob ko. Naiinis ako sa mga lalaki kapag nakikita ko sila dahil sa ginawa sa akin,” Dologuin said.

(I was holding a grudge. I would get irked whenever I see men because of what was done to me.)

“Perfect naman, lumapit itong LFS na nagpapakilalang Gabriela, kasi nandoon ang diwang palaban ko.”

(The timing was perfect. The LFS approached me and told they were from Gabriela. It ignited my passion.)

Dologuin, a former student athlete, said she would later go up the mountains to join the New People’s Army. She remained in the group for just 8 months.

She warned aspiring members of leftist groups to think twice.

“After nang mangyari na ma-recruit ako, sumampa ako, ‘di na kailanman magiging normal ang buhay mo,” she said.

(After I got recruited, I went up the mountains, my life was never the same.)

She also hurled curses at her former comrades for supposedly turning their backs against her and even threatening to kill her.

“Humingi ako ng paumanhin, pero t*ngina silang lahat,” she said.

(I am sorry for this, but you are all sons of b*tches.)

“Nandito ako naglakas ng loob na di ako nagtatago kasi haharapin ko iyan. Alam ko gusto nila akong patayin eh, then go ahead.”

(I am here because I don't want to hide. I know you want me killed., then go ahead.)

Agnes Reano, another former rebel, said she was recruited when she was still a student at the Ateneo de Naga University in 1983, around the time the LFS was still in its infancy.

“I questioned the very principled tenets of the movement. Am I really serving my people? Talaga ba akong nagsisilbi sa bayan? (Am I really serving my country?)” Reano said.

“Kung nagsisilbi ako sa bayan, bakit 'yung anak ng may anak ‘di ko mapagpaalam sa magulang at kailangan kong dalhin sa kabundukan?”

(If I was serving my country, why could I not tell their parents I would bring them with me and go to the mountains?)

Reano recalled an instance where she recruited a nursing student in July 1989 who died in an armed encounter 6 months later.

A former rebel in full face mask who only identified herself as Allen said she was enticed to join the leftist movement because of the group’s crusade against contractualization, as her mother was a contractual worker for over a decade.

“Wala pa akong idea sa totoong galaw ng mundo kaya siguro madali akong nakumbinsing sumali,” Allen said.

(I still had no idea how the world works which is probably why I got enticed easily to join them.)

Allen left the communist movement in 2018 and led a quiet life with a former rebel. She got pregnant and tried to ask for financial assistance from her former comrades but did not get anything.

“Dahil ba umalis kami sa organisasyon, wala na kaming pakinabang sa kanila? Iyung kinakasama ko, naging commander ng platoon, siya ang inuutusan para pumatay,” she said.

(Just because we left the group we were no longer of use to them? My partner even served as a platoon commander, he would get orders to kill people.)

Alvin Torero, a former rebel, said recruiters really tap on the emotions and weaknesses of their young prospects.

“Kapag po nabigyan ko sila ng pagkain akin na iyon (Once I give them food, they're mine),” Torero said.

“Nakukuha namin based sa kahirapan ng mga magulang para mapag-aral ang kanilang mga anak.”

(It's also easy to convince those whose parents cannot afford to send them to school.)

Sen. Ronald dela Rosa, chair of the public order committee, said school authorities must be vigilant to prevent communist rebels from recruiting students.

Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago earlier slammed as "malicious" and "baseless" the allegations that left-leaning groups are recruiting students to join the communist movement.