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Tiamzons, not Joma, now in charge of CPP

Govt may drop party founder from peace talks The government said on Monday that it may drop Ultrech-based communist leaders Jose Maria Sison and Luis Jalandoni when it resumes the peace talks with the communists. Government chief negotiator Alexander Padilla said that based on intelligence reports from within the communist movement, Sison and Jalandoni were no longer in charge of the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front-New People’s Army, and it is actually the husband-and-wife tandem of Benito and Wilma Tiamzon who are calling the shots. “Who is in charge? Well, intelligence reports say that the Tiamzon spouses are in charge,” Padilla said during a forum hosted by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines on Monday. Padilla added that this was one of the reasons why the government is studying whether it would still involve Sison in the talks in the future through another platform and framework. Presidential peace adviser Teresita Deles said there were new “dynamics” within the communist movement that suggested that it was futile talking to its founding chairman who has been in The Netherlands under a self-imposed exile. “The report is that there are dynamics and there are things that are happening with the movement now. How this eventually settles itself, we don’t know,” Deles said. “One of the things that we have that has really come forward in the consultations is the need to examine and assess who we are talking to and therefore this [whether to still talk to Sison or not] is a question that will certainly be seriously studied,” she added. Based on Sison’s autobiographical work called The Philippine Revolution he and Tiamzon were members of the CPP’s Political Bureau, the party’s executive panel, in 1989. Tiamzon was also “politburo’s” acting chairman in 1987. The other members of the Politburo in 1989 were Tiamzon’s wife, Wilma Austria, Ricardo Reyes and Romulo Kintanar. However, Sison and Tiamzon drifted apart in the succeeding years, when he  supported the moves within the rebel movement to participate in legislative elections, with Tiamzon choosing to maintain the party’s vision of relying on armed struggle. Military sources also said Sison and Tiamzon backed opposing camps in 2010 when Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo ran  for a seat in the House but. Tuazon reportedly “celebrated” Ocampo’s defeat because it was an expensive exercise that was unpopular with those who espoused armed struggle, according to the military. The Tiamzon couple have been described as more aggressive than Sison. Former presidential peace adviser Avelino Razon Jr. had warned that with the Tiamzon couple at the helm, a “regime of violence is at hand.” National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia said the Tiamzon couple may have gained the upperhand because the NPA ground commanders respected them over the years for their decision to stay and continue the CPP’s armed struggle in the country. “The general belief is that those based in the Philippines are exercising leadership. It is strange for a leader to be out of the country, and that is how the Tiamzon couple is able to exercise effective leadership,” Garcia said in a phone interview. Little is known about the Tiamzon couple, except that Benito was an urban poor scholar who graduated from the University of the Philippines with a degree in Sociology.
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