National Democratic Front co-founder and former Bayan Muna party-list representative Satur Ocampo admits that the arrest of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) strong couple Benito and Wilma Tiamzon was a setback to the leftist group, but warned that the effect is for a brief moment only.
“Nangyari yan [pagaresto sa lider ng CPP-NPA] noong 1977 nung naaresto si Joma Sison,” Ocampo said in a television interview Tuesday.
“Nangyari uli yan nung 1986 nang maaresto si Rodolfo Salas na sinasabing ang pumalit na chairman ng CPP-NPA. Pero nagpatuloy naman, may replenishment. So ganyan din ang dadaanang proseso nito sa kasalukuyang panahon,” he added.
The Tiamzons were arrested on Saturday in Cebu City after two months of tight surveillance. Benito is the chairman of CPP-NPA, and Wilma is the secretary general, reports said.
Tactical-wise, the arrest may be a big blow to the group, Ocampo said.
Ocampo also pacified the government’s worry that the New People’s Army (NPA) will carry out retaliatory attacks.
“Gawa-gawa yan ng military. Hindi naman ganyan ang gawi ng NPA na kung may maaresto ay gaganti, hindi naman nangyari yan sa nakaraan,” said Ocampo.
As long as the government fails to address the needs of the people, Ocampo said, the communist movement will continue.
“Mayroong napapatay, may sumusurrender pero narereplenish. Kasi, yung dahilan ng paglaban sa gobyerno, yung root causes na tinutukoy din ni Pangulong Aquino, ay nandyan pa rin. Hindi pa nareresolba kaya importante na i-address ang mga iyon,” he said.
And to resolve the issue, the NDF and government needs to return to the negotiating table instead of arguing whether the arrest was legal or not.