By Juan Sarmiento
Editor, “Talk of the Town”
Philippine Daily Inquirer
22 November 2003
1. Did you not have any inkling that something like Operation Missing Link in Southern Tagalog, Olympia in Metro Manila and other purges such as those in Northern Luzon and Eastern Visayas was happening in 1987-1989?
Reply: I got some amount of hearsay and reliable statements from various people. You must take into acccount the distance between the Netherlands and Philippines, particularly the time gap between a Philippine event and any kind of report about it. By the way, you do not mention Kampanyang Ahos, which was the very worst of the bloody witchhunts.
2. Was there any effort on the part of the local leadership to consult you on how to conduct the purge/s?
Reply: At no time have I ever made myself available for consultations with any entity for conducting what you call “purges”. However, I am always ready to discuss with anyone the correct principles and methods of investigation, prosecution, trial and evaluation of evidence. I can draw from my knowledge and experience as a student of Marxism, teacher of political science and victim of fascism and counterrevolution.
You are using the term “purge” with some special connotation or tendentiousness, even as feudal, bourgeois and proletarian parties use the same term in common and in general to mean removing from the membership list those deemed inactive, deceased or errant. At any rate, you should be pleased that the CPP uses far stronger terms (crimes, madness, etc.) to condemn and repudiate the crimes involved in the events that you have mentioned.
3. Why did the purges happen?
Reply: The law of contradiction operates everywhere. A revolutionary party of the working class can be penetrated by bad elements or parts or even the entirety of it can degenerate. Bloody witchhunts can thus occur if the proletarian revolutionaries and the people are not vigilant and militant in handling the problems of penetration and degeneration. The CPP should be praised for rectifying the political errors of opportunism, for confronting the crimes and upholding the principle and right of due process. The rectification has been able to consolidate, revitalize and further strengthen the CPP and in effect the entire revolutionary movement.
4. Who should be held responsible?
Reply: On the basis of available CPP publications, I think that the CPP and other revolutionary organizations and the people concerned know best who are responsible for definite crimes. But there are of course counterrevolutionaries and plain muddleheads who simply say that the entirety of Marxism-Leninism or the entirety of CPP is responsible.
It is like some people saying that liberal democracy and liberal democratic parties are forever disqualified by the reign of terror in the French revolution or that the Catholic Church is entirely no good because of the notorious witchhunts and inquisitions in its history or that the old democratic revolution in the Philippines was invalid because Aguinaldo was culpable for the killing of Bonifacio and Luna. ###