AT 80, a man is old indeed, and Jose Ma. Sison should not take umbrage at the remarks of Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo who pointed out the fact that the founder of the reestablished Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is now an old man.
Panelo dished out three adjectives in a stream of invectivea disparaging Sison: “aging, armchair, passe” rebel. A newspaper reported thus: “It wasn’t clear which of Panelo’s words hurt most the communist rebel leader but the 80-year-old Sison, just older by six years than Duterte, called Panelo “politically and intellectually bankrupt.”
Sison and Panelo exchanged vitriol following Joma’s criticism of Duterte, particularly his making headway in negotiations with China on the joint development of the Reed Bank – to look for oil and gas resources for the benefit of both countries, in a 60-40 sharing arrangement in favor of the Philippines.
Sison had called these developments “treasonous deals,” and Panelo was expected to retort to defend his boss. The Palace spox said the administration “has no time to waste in responding to the latest anti-Duterte statement of Jose Maria Sison, other than saying that it is another errant raving and incorrigible ranting coming from an aging, armchair, passe rebel whose illusory vision has outsprinted the ticking hands of time.”
While the exiled communist leader might feel offended by these tirades, a disinterested observer cannot help but recognize the truth in them. For Joma is indeed an armchair rebel. From his comfortable perch in The Netherlands, Sison still wields considerable influence in the New People’s Army (NPA) who are hungry and dying, fighting a losing “people’s war” which is now on its 51st year.
Sison’s cause, the armed struggle, is also “passé,” as Panelo puts it. The era of successful traditional communist regimes has ended, with the collapse of the Soviet Union and China’s march towards socialism with Chinese characteristics. Sison lives in the bygone years of the 60s, and will most likely say goodbye to this world without seeing the dawn of CPP victory in these islands.
Well, anyway, it looks like what drew blood in Sison among the three diatribes unleashed by Panelo is that which has something to do with his age. Losing his cool because of the mention of his age?
This reveals how low the old vanguard of the working class has sunk in the bourgeois abyss.
Jose Ma. Sison still thinks, and says without blinking, that his ideas, views and comments are “supported by the broad masses of the people, the revolutionary movement, and by the most responsible leaders, organizations and institutions motivated by patriotism.”
He can engage in wishful thinking any time, even as Duterte’s government, as Panelo stressed, is actually “engrossed in its constitutional duty of serving and protecting the Filipino people.”