Huwebes, Pebrero 5, 2009

Beyond the Assassins' Bullets - by Greg Bituin Jr.

by Gregorio V. Bituin Jr.


A long time ago, one man said to his assassin, “Come, shoot me! You’ll just kill a man!” That was Comandante Che Guevara, who comes face to face with his assassin Bolivian soldier Mario Teran, and was killed while doing his revolutionary work in Bolivia. They killed the man, but not his ideas, which today endured the test of time.

Likewise, Filemon “Ka Popoy” Lagman was just a man. But his assassins can’t kill his ideas. They had wiped out his body but not his legacy.

Ka Popoy was an epitome of a great political thinker, a hero of the proletariat, a critical analyzer of the issues of the time, a prolific writer, a dedicated ideologue, an indefatigable leader, and a fearless revolutionary. He led the split in the Maoist Communist Party of the Philippines and advanced the idea that the working class and not the peasants are the main force that will emancipate all the toiling masses from the claws of capitalism. His legacy lies in his writings and in the heart and minds of the Filipino working class. His work inspired others to aspire for a society where there are no slaves of capital and no private property of the means of production.

He contributed much to the advancement of revolutionary thought. He wrote the counter-thesis, which produced great works such as PSR: A Semi-feudal Alibi for Protracted War, 1994. This is a critique of Joma Sison’s book (under the pseudonym Amado Guerrero) Philippine Society and Revolution, which characterized Philippine society’s mode of production as semi-feudal and semi-colonial; PPDR: Class Line vs. Mass Line, 1994, which is a critique of the CPP’s ‘People’s Program for a Democratic Revolution, which laid down its standpoint on the bourgeois democratic revolution and the agrarian question; and third is the PPW: A New-Type Revolution of the Wrong Type, 1994, which is a critique of Sison’s dogma of the armed struggle as the primary form of struggle for the Filipino proletariat, a review of Chinese society and history.

He also wrote deep political and economic analysis of the Philippine society in his work Aralin sa Kahirapan, also known as ARAK; and Puhunan at Paggawa (Capital and Labor), which he profoundly discussed in Tagalog Marx’s Das Kapital.

His contributions for the emancipation of the toiling masses from the bondage of poverty are his road to immortality. Offering his time, his talent and his life for a greater cause for the betterment of others while advancing socialist ideas is what made him immortal in the eyes of the working class.

Together with proletarian thinkers and revolutionaries such as Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, Crisanto Evangelista, Teodoro Asedillo, Felixberto Olalia, and the like, the name Filemon “Ka Popoy” Lagman will be engraved in the pantheon of working class heroes.

History is kind enough that as I researched and compiled the works written by different people and put them together in this book, I learned many things that made me think and feel that activist like me should continue to propagate the ideas of the working class and help in their struggle until the day has come that the victory of socialism worldwide will become a reality. I believe that others who will read this book will agree.

Through their articles and poems, those who have known Ka Popoy - friends, comrades, admirers, and even enemies - salutes the man whom many feared because of his tenacity in propagating his ideas and in advancing the working class interest. They salute the man who called for a revolution in Ayala.

Filemon Lagman is dead, but the assassins’ bullets didn’t kill and cannot kill the legacy of the man many called Ka Popoy. They didn’t stop and cannot stop working class revolutionaries and activists from dreaming, pursuing and struggling for the advancement of socialism and for the emancipation of the working class.

This compilation is a testament that beyond the assassins’ bullets, Ka Popoy’s legacy will forever be enshrined in the history of the Filipino working class. Long live Ka Popoy!

Kung Naririto Ka... - ni Teody Navea

Kung Naririto Ka…
Ni Teody Navea
BMP Secretary General

Di mo nanaising mamamayagpag ang bangis ng globalisasyon
Di mo hahayaang ang mga palalo ay magtampisaw sa yaman
Di mo kukunsintihin ang mga buwaya sa parliamento
Di mo papayagang manaig ang kasamaan sa kabutihan……

Itataguyod mo ang kapangyarihan ng uring anakpawis
Ibabandila mo ang daluyong ng kilusang mapagpalaya
Iguguhit mo ang linya ng pakikibaka
Igigiya mo ang laban ng manggagawa
Isusulong mo ang landas ng pagrerebolusyon

Magsusunog ka ng kilay para pagyamanin ang pagrerebolusyon
Mag-iikot ka sa mga komunidad at pabrika para alamin ang kalagayan ng masa
Makikipagtalastasan ka sa mga paham at dalubhasa
Magbubuo ka ng iba’t ibang porma ng pakikibaka

Higit sa lahat,
Itatayo mo ang mga organisasyong mapagpalaya
Itatakwil mo ang mga taksil sa uri
Iipunin mo ang mga kadre’t puwersa sa rebolusyon

Hindi ka titigil hangga’t di nagwawagi ang uring anakpawis
Hindi ka titigil sa pagtuklas ng mga bagong ideya para ipanalo ang rebolusyon

Hindi ka mabibigo sapagkat daan daang puwersa ang handang isabuhay ang iyong mga hangarin at adhikain para sa kilusang Manggagawa, Ka Popoy!

Ka Popoy - by Jed M. Eva III

Ka Popoy
Jed M. Eva III
President, National Federation of Student Councils (1997-1999)
Information Officer, Sanlakas (1996-1999)

The last time I saw Ka Popoy was a day or two before he was gunned down on the steps of U.P.'s Bahay ng Alumni. I ran into him in the very same building where he would later fall, and to this day I remember every word of our final conversation.

Ka Popoy, seated at a table at Chocolate Kiss, was, as usual, doing two things that he always did: smoking and drinking coffee. After exchanging pleasantries, I noticed that he did not have a bodyguard, a sight I had grown accustomed to in the close to five years I had known him. "Pops," I said, "wala ka na atang bodyguard, ha."

"Di na kailangan yan," he said nonchalantly.

Ka Popoy would be felled by assassins’ bullets soon after.

Like most who received the tragic news that day, I trooped to the Philippine Heart Center hoping that the man who inspired me to join the movement would live to fight another day. Sadly, he didn't survive the attack. What did survive, however, were fond memories of a man many people––especially those in government––were not particularly fond of.

As a councilor of U.P. Diliman's University Student Council, I knew very little about Ka Popoy, my knowledge of him limited to the fact that he was a political activist and the feisty, controversial younger brother of two of my fraternity brothers at U.P. Law’s Alpha Phi Beta Fraternity, Edcel and Hermon Lagman. I would learn more later on as I became more involved in the National Federation of Student Councils (NFSC), an organization composed of student councils from universities and colleges across the country.

I heard Ka Popoy speak for the first time in the NFSC’s National Congress in Davao in November 1996. In that Congress’ major forum––which tackled globalization and its effects on the country––a surprised Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (then a member of the Philippine Senate) grudgingly welcomed Ka Popoy onto the stage she thought she would monopolize that afternoon. In a simple, straightforward, extemporaneous speech, he passionately argued for us student leaders to stand with the victims of globalization––the poor and the marginalized.

Certainly, the more conservative student leaders present had difficulty accepting the politics of Ka Popoy. Despite this, many gravitated towards Ka Popoy, who, despite lacking rock star looks, was treated like a rock star nonetheless. Perhaps it was his penchant for wearing leather jackets; maybe it was the romantic figure he cut as an uncompromising revolutionary in an age of trade-offs and horse-trading. Whatever it was, this much is true: that day, the majority of our country’s student leaders chose to pose with a leftist labor leader rather than a senator of the Republic.

That the country’s youngest generation of leaders would choose to stand for photographs with a known communist was remarkable in itself; what was downright extraordinary was how many student leaders would stand by the principles he espoused in that forum. In a spirited, animated debate on a resolution condemning the ill effects of globalization, student leaders––myself included––echoed Ka Popoy’s arguments, paving the way for the NFSC’s progressive position on globalization and its active participation in SLAM-APEC.

Shortly after his speech, upon his return to Manila, Ka Popoy would be apprehended and jailed on some trumped up charge (weren’t they all?) to keep him out of the public’s eye as the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, Sanlakas, and other SLAM-APEC orgs like the NFSC were in the midst of organizing a huge caravan that would make its way to Subic to protest the APEC Summit being held in the former American naval base. Rather than strike fear or discouragement in the hearts of us younger activists, Ka Popoy’s capture would instead galvanize us into action, the Ramos Administration’s obvious attempts to quell the waves of protest fanning the fire of idealism in our hearts. Our idol in prison, Ka Popoy’s youthful rebelliousness seemed to rub off us, as we were inspired by an image that would be captured for posterity on the front pages of the nation’s broadsheets: Ka Popoy giving the finger to the State that sought to quiet the country’s most influential labor leader by locking him up.

Despite Ka Popoy’s incarceration, the SLAM-APEC caravan was a success. I had––then or ever since––never seen so many jeepneys in my life. I slept on the roof of our mosquito-ridden jeep, and used a farmer’s untilled field as a toilet––and utterly relished some of the most uncomfortable hours of my life. This, however, would only be the beginning for me and other student leaders. Some like myself would turn their back on their education and begin to work full-time for the movement, organizing fellow student leaders and later on campaigning to put Sanlakas in congress during the first party-list elections. Others would graduate from the youth and student movement and organize other sectors––labor, the urban poor, women; all the while holding on tightly to our idealism in spite of the painful realities––hunger, empty pockets, angry families––that relentlessly dogged us.

While I would eventually leave the movement––as did many of my contemporaries––its lingering influence and that of its iconic leader, Ka Popy, would leave a lasting impression on many of us from the NFSC and other youth organizations. A few would enter government service; some would join NGOs and people’s organizations; others would lend their skills to foundations; none (to my knowledge) would become filthy rich. In June 2008, I celebrated my tenth year in government, my inability to leave for the profitable pastures of the private sector attributable to some of the lessons Ka Popoy passed on in his life and his death.

Most know that Ka Popoy was an aethist, and that he didn’t believe in the afterlife. I am sure, however, that wherever he is, he’ll agree that though he isn’t physically with us, his spirit lives on amongst us who continue to serve our countrymen in our own ways, and continue to take a stand for what is good, right, and just in this world.

Ka Popoy, Tunay na Lider at Propagandista - ni Greg Bituin Jr.

ni Gregorio V. Bituin Jr.

Bago ako nag-aral sa kolehiyo noong 1993, ay naging manggagawa muna ako bilang pioneer machine operator ng tatlong taon sa isang Filipino-Japanese factory sa Alabang, Muntinlupa. Nag-resign ako upang mag-aral muli. Bandang 1992 iyon.

Nag-enrol ako at naging kasapi ng publikasyong The Featinean nang sinubukan kong mag-eksam at nakapasa. Nasa publikasyon ako bilang baguhang manunulat ng magasing pang-estudyante sa FEATI University nang naimbitahan ng isang bagong kakilala para sumama sa League of Filipino Students (LFS), at ang isa naman ay sa LFS-NCR, 1993 iyon. Nagtataka ako at mukhang di sila nagbabatian pag pumupunta sa publikasyong The Featinean. Nag-iiwasan. Iyun pala, may namumuo nang debate sa loob ng kilusan, at nag-aagawan na ng marerekrut. Nagbabakuran na pala ang kilusan sa dalawa, yung maka-Joma ay tinawag na RA o reaffirmist, habang yaong mga nasa panig ni Ka Popoy ay tinawag na RJ o rejectionist.

Nobyembre 30, 1993, ang mga dating pamunuan at kasapi ng LFS-NCR ay nag-Kongreso sa PUP, at naitayo ang Kamalayan (Kalipunan ng Malayang Kabataan). Sampung araw bago ito, isa sa nakamiting ko ay ang sikat na komedyante ngayong si Tado, na noon ay nasa Panday Pira pa ng PUP. Sa UP Manila kami nag-miting, at iyon na pala ang pagtatayo ng bagong organisasyon ng mga student councils na magiging kapalit ng National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP). Pebrero 27, 1994 nang maitayo ang National Federation of Student Councils (NFSC).

Disyembre 1993, naimbitahan akong sumama ng taga-LFS national sa bundok upang ipagdiwang ang kaarawan ni Mao Tse Tung sa Disyembre 26. Muntik na akong makasama roon. Paalis na ako para sumama nang masabi ko ang planong ito sa taga-LFS-NCR na ngayon ay naging Kamalayan. Aba’y hindi ako pinayagan. Baguhan pa lang kasi ako noon sa kilusan kaya di ko pa gaanong nauunawaan ang mga sinasabi nilang debate. Pasama-sama lamang ako sa mga aktibista nuong panahong iyon. Nakikipagtalakayan hinggil sa mga isyu ng lipunan. Hanggang sa palagi na akong nakakapunta upang dumalo ng pag-aaral sa opisina ng Edjop SCCS, na may opisina sa Prudencio St., sa Sampaloc, malapit sa bahay namin. Doon ko na natutunan ang MRP (Marxismo at Rebong Pilipino), at pati ang tatlong thesis, o counterthesis kung tawagin namin. Paalis-alis na rin ako ng bahay noon. Di kasi ako mapirmi sa bahay. Minsan naman ay tumatambay kami sa isang kainan sa Hidalgo sa Quiapo, na kilala sa tawag na Sizzling.

Una kong nakita si Ka Popoy sa isang miting sa may Cubao, sa opisina ng SSI, sa RG Building, kausap si Jake. Ngunit pangkaraniwang tao lamang siya sa tingin ko noon. Karaniwang manggagawang minimiting ang kapwa manggagawa.

Ilang buwan lamang ay pumutok ang pangalan ni Ka Popoy, nahuli siya noong Mayo 26, 1994 sa isang lugar sa Quezon City. Tandang-tanda ko ang petsang ito dahil dalawang araw bago mangyari iyon ay nakasama ako sa isang lightning rally sa Makati upang ipagdiwang ang ikasampung anibersaryo ng isang mapagpalayang organisasyon. Labindalawa ang nahuli sa aming mga kasamahan at isa ako sa na-flash ang pangalan sa telebisyon na umano’y nawawala. Ngunit sa katunayan ay nakawala nang magkahulihan. Nalaman ng aking mga magulang ang nangyari ngunit itinanggi ko na nakasama ako doon. Ito ang simula upang magdesisyon akong magtuluy-tuloy sa pagiging aktibista. Ang sabi ko sa sarili ko noon, tutal nandito na rin lang, ituloy ko na. Kaya habang pumapasok ako bilang estudyante at dyornalista sa FEATI ay isinasabay ko na rin ang pagrerekrut para sa Kamalayan.

Setyembre 1994, nahalal ako bilang opisyal ng Kamalayan sa NCR, na may posisyong Basic Masses Integration (BMI) officer. Sa Fortune Building sa Pineda, Pasig, ang naging opisina ng Kamalayan. Sama-sama na ang lahat ng organisasyon doon, tulad ng Sanlakas, Bukluran ng Manggagawa para sa Pagbabago o BMP (1995 nang palitan ito ng Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino sa isang kongreso sa Araneta), ang CREATE, STOP (Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator sa Pilipinas), Kamalayan, NFSC, Makabayan (na nalusaw din kalaunan), KPML, atbp. Doon na rin laging nag-oopisina si Ka Popoy. Malakas magyosi, ngunit mahilig maglaro ng chess. Sa panahong ito na ako nagsimulang magbaklas-bahay, o wala nang uwian.

Nahalal noong 1995 bilang tagapangulo ng Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) si Ka Popoy sa isang malaking pagtitipon sa Araneta.

Agosto 1996 nang magsimula akong kumilos sa Sanlakas. Una akong inimbitahan ni Wilson bilang manunulat, nasa Sanlakas na ako noon bilang staff, at pinadalo ako sa isang miting ng mga propagandista sa isang lugar sa Balic-Balic, at doon ay nagplano kami, kung saan si Ka Popoy ang nagpadaloy ng usapan. Tinalakay niya ang usaping propaganda, paano ang pagkakahanay ng mga isyu at ng mga susulatin, at ano ang tamang analisis sa isyung napapanahon. Bilang manunulat, marami akong natutunan sa kanya sa usaping propaganda.

Muling nahuli si Ka Popoy bago ang SLAM-APEC Conference sa Subic, 1996. At nakasama ako sa ilang pagkilos upang siya’y mapalaya.

Marso 1997, pormal na akong nagpaalam sa The Featinean bilang features and literary editor upang mag-fulltime na ng tuluyan, na siyang laman ng huli kong kolum sa magasing iyon.

Noong 1997, sa SONA ni Ramos, isang dramatikong pakulo ang pinangunahan ni Ka Popoy. Ang mga manggagawang kasapi ng BMP ay may hawak ding mga truncheon (panangga at pamalo) katapat ang mga pulis na may hawak ding truncheon. At si Ka Popoy ay naroon sa gitna ng magkaharap na manggagawa at pulis na parehong may hawak na truncheon. Na-front page siya sa dyaryong Isyu kinabukasan na nasa gitna ng dalawang panig.

Istrikto sa trabaho si Ka Popoy lalo na pagdating sa pagtapos ng deadline. Ineedit naming kung may typo error ang bawat artikulo sa tipong Newsweek at Times magazine na disenyo ng Tambuli sa opisina ng kanyang kapatid na si Edcel, nang kami ni kasamang Larry, staff noon ng BMP ay sabihan ni Ka Popoy na huwag kaming maingay, huwag magkuwentuhan, habang siya naman ay seryosong nakaharap sa kompyuter. Sa panahong iyon ako nakakita ng maraming bolyum ng sulatin ni Lenin, tila kumpleto ang 45 bolyum na iyon, at kaysarap basahin. Doon ay nakita kong talagang pinag-aaralan at kabisado ni Ka Popoy ang Leninismo.

Mabilis din siyang gumawa ng mga press statement at press releases hinggil sa iba’t ibang isyu. Nakita ko mismo ito sa laban ng PALEA (Phil. Airlines Employees Union), dahil sa akin ipinaipon at ipina-layout ang iba’t ibang press releases na ginawa niya hinggil sa labanang ito. Naitago ko pa ang nag-iisa kong kopya ng mga sulatin niyang ito.

Naroon ako ng interbyuhin siya sa radyo kung saan nakadebate niya si Ka Bel ng KMU, kung saan pasigaw niyang dinudurog sa debate si Ka Bel, na pilit namang inaawat ng announcer.

Magaling ding mang-asar si Ka Popoy lalo na sa rali. Sa isang rali sa Mendiola, dumating ang bulto ng BMP-Sanlakas-KPML-Kamalayan habang nakuha na ng kabilang grupo ng Bayan-KMU-LFS, atbp, ang tulay ng Mendiola. Sumigaw ng isang islogan si Ka Popoy at inaasar ang kabilang grupo, na nakapang-adyit naman sa amin. Bigla kaming inawat ng lider ng marshalls na huwag raw sumigaw dahil baka magkagulo. Sumigaw uli sa Ka Popoy, pero nang makita ng lider ng marshalls na si Ka Popoy pala ang sumisigaw ay di na niya kami naawat na sumigaw ng mga islogang laban sa mga RA. Bukod sa pagiging propagandista, epektibong ahitador din si Ka Popoy. At ang matindi sa aming lider na ito, pag nasa rali, wala siya sa gitna o sa hulihan ng bulto, naroon siya sa frontline. Ito ang lider, pinangungunahan ang kanyang mga tao.

Isa sa nakita kong ikinaiba ng aming lider na si Ka Popoy sa nakatunggali niya sa debateng si Joma Sison, si Ka Popoy ay nakaharap sa laban, nakakasama namin sa rali, at patuloy sa pakikipag-usap sa mga manggagawa, tulad ng inokupa ng mga manggagawang taga-Temic ang opisina ng DOLE, at inabutan na sila doon ng Pasko na di kapiling ang kani-kanilang pamilya, ang laban ng PALEA, at iba pang unyon at komunidad.

Si Joma ay nasa malayo at tila pinatatakbo ang kanilang rebolusyon sa pamamagitan ng email at fax, ngunit si Ka Popoy ay harap-harapan sa labanan. At ang tapang na ito ng isang lider ng manggagawa ay dapat hangaan, na hindi makita sa ibang lider na nagpapalaki lang ng bayag at hindi makita sa totoong labanan.

Isa sa malaki kong natutunan kay Ka Popoy ay ang gawaing propaganda. Sa pamamagitan ng polyeto, at matalisik na analisis na nakasulat sa polyeto, paggawa ng ala-Time magasin na Tambuli, pagtatayo ng radyong Santinig-Sanlakas, ay makapagmulat sa uring manggagawa at maipaabot sa kanila ang kanilang rebolusyonaryong papel upang baguhin ang lipunan. Ang natutunan kong ito’y ipinagpapatuloy ko hanggang ngayon, at marahil hanggang sa araw na ako’y malagutan ng hininga. Mabuhay si Ka Popoy!

Miyerkules, Pebrero 4, 2009

Ang Ka Popoy na Kilala Ko - ni Sonny Melencio

Ang Ka Popoy na Kilala Ko
Ni Sonny Melencio

Noong 1971 ko siya nakilala. Long hair na aktibista. Isa sa mga kasamang nakikita ko tuwing magkakaroon ng pulong ang Ugnayan ng Kilusang Progresibo, isang pederasyon ng mga radikal na organisasyon (pangunahin ng kabataan at estudyante) sa Kalookan, Malabon at Navotas. Nasa SDK siya; ako nama’y nasa samahang KM.

Bantog si “Ka Mon” noon sa pagiging debatador – mahilig sa debate at maukilkil sa lahat ng bagay. Ang imaheng nakikita ko sa kanya sa malalaking pulong ng UKP (kung saan ang mga aktibistang gaya ko ay maaaring basta na lamang sumama) ay isang aktibistang walang humpay na nakikipagtalo kaharap ang mga pinuno ng UKP na nasa mahahabang lamesa.

Very emphatic si Ka Mon kapag idinidiin niya ang kanyang mga ideya. Nagtayo ang KM noon ng isang chapter sa Navotas at isa ako sa mga pinuno nito. Si Ka Mon ay madalas bumibisita sa amin at tumitigil nang matagal sa aming headquarters. Tuwang-tuwa kami na marinig siya sa mga pulong, sapagkat nalalaman namin ang mga pinakahuling debate sa UKP at kung ano ang kanyang mga pananaw doon.

Nang ideklara ang martial law noong September 1972, si Ka Mon ay naglagi sa aming lugar sa Navotas. Gabi-gabi ay kasama namin siya sa paghanap ng matutulugan at sa pagma-“mass work” sa mga pamilya na nakatira sa aming tutulugan. Kailangan naming magpalipat-lipat dahil sa mga “sona” – zoning ng militar sa mga komunidad kung saan hinuhuli ang maraming aktibista at nakatira sa mga bahay na may mga “subversive materials”.

May isang insidente sa panahong ito na nakita ko si Ka Mon na halos maligalig. Naglalagi siya noon, tuwing umaga, sa aming bahay at isang araw, nakapulot ako ng isang papel na nasa kanyang handwriting. Listahan iyon ng mga sarili niyang tanong kung ano ang mga opsyon niya sa buhay bilang isang aktibista at isang kapatid. Sa sulat, nalaman kong nahuli ng mga militar ang kanyang kapatid na abogado, si Hermon, matapos ang raid sa kanilang bahay. (Si Hermon ang abogadong hanggang ngayon ay missing. Nakalaya si Hermon sa pagkakakulong na ito, pero noong huling bahagi ng 1970s ay dinukot siya ng mga militar.) Nang dumating si Ka Popoy sa aming bahay, hinanap niya ang nasabing papel. Nang ibigay ko sa kanya ay itinanong niya kung nabasa ko iyon. Paungol ang tanong, kaya sinabi ko Hindi.

Para sa akin, ang halaga ng papel ay ang sistema ng self-introspection ni Ka Popoy. Hindi siya nagpapatianod lamang sa panahon. Masusi niyang pinag-iisipan ang direksyon na kanyang patutunguhan. Ngayon, ang naging buhay ni Ka Popoy ang magpapakita sa atin kung anong landas ang pinili niyang buhay sa mga inilista niyang opsyon sa papel na iyon.

Sa unang arangkada ng martial law, ang naging assignment ni Ka Popoy sa kilusan ay sa pag-organisa ng mga manggagawa. Alam ko na isang pabrikang tinututukan niya ay ang LK Guarin, isang textile & garments firm sa Malabon. Mahaba ang istorya ng pabrikang ito dahil noong bago mag-martial law, nagwelga ang mga manggagawa at nagbarikada kami sa kalye sa harap ng pabrika. Ang natatandaan ko, lahat kami may hawak na Molotov at pillbox para ipagtanggol ang barikada. Isang gabi, nilusob kami ng army at naubusan kami ng ihahagis na pillbox at Molotov. Marami ang nahuli, at kasama na kami ni Ka Mon. Ang iba ay duguan dahil binugbog sa daan pa lamang. Pagdating sa Malabon City jail, hindi namin pinatulog ang mga pulis. Magdamag kaming nag-awitan ng mga rebolusyonaryonaryong kanta.

Kaya noong martial law, binalikan ni Ka Popoy ang pag-oorganisa sa pabrikang ito, ayon sa tungkuling ipinagkaloob sa kanya ng CPP. Doon niya nakilala ang kanyang unang asawa na aktibista rin, si Ka Sahlee. Nang magkaroon ng reorganisasyon ang Manila-Rizal section ng CPP, binuo muli ang District Party committee na sinasaklaw ang tinatawag na D3: Kalookan, Malabon at Navotas, at nang lumaon ay isinama na rin ang Novaliches at bayan ng Valenzuela. Ang pinuno ng Distrito ay si Ka Popoy. Magkasama kami nina Ka Popoy, Ka Sahlee at iba pa sa UG house sa panahong ito. Wala namang sariling pondo na nagmumula sa CPP kaya sarili naming diskarte ang pagtustos sa aming pagkilos noon. Naaalala ko na bawat piso na makukuha ni Ka Popoy mula sa kanyang ina ay hinahati-hati pa rin namin bilang pantustos sa pagkilos. Ang panganay na anak ni Ka Popoy, si Dante, na nasa sinapupunan pa ni Ka Sahlee ay nabuhay sa araw-araw na munggo at kanin.

Nagkaroon ng reorganisasyon sa MR region ng CPP at si Ka Popoy ang isa sa nanguna rito. Kaya pansamantala rin akong namuno ng D3 nang nasa regional leadership na si Ka Popoy. Matapos ang ilang taon, nagkasama na naman kami sa MR.

Ang liderato ni Ka Popoy ay kaiba sa karaniwan. Kilala siya sa “durugan” ng mga ideya. Pero para sa akin, hindi lamang ito. Prolific writer si Ka Popoy, dulot na rin ng kanyang naunang treyning bilang editor ng Bantayog, ang pahayagan ng UKP, noong bago mag-martial law. Tuwing pulong ay may inihahandang artikulo si Ka Popoy at ito ang magiging batayan ng aming mga talakayan. Kaya hindi ito “durugan” na bala-bala, ito’y “durugan” kapag hindi ka sang-ayon sa mga ideyang nakasulat, o lihis ang iyong ideya sa kanyang isinulat. Ang ibig lang sabihin nito, nauunang pag-isipan ni Ka Popoy ang maraming usapin bago ang mga pulong. Karaniwang nagiging “sounding board” din ako ng mga ideyang ito bago ang mga pulong. Dahil malalim muna niyang pinag-isipan ang mga ideya bago ang pulong, ito siguro ang dahilan kung bakit “emphatic” o “impatient” si Ka Popoy sa mga taliwas na ideya na sumusulpot lamang sa pulong. Isang iminungkahing paraan noon ang pagsulatin ang lahat ng kasapi ng MR sa bawat nakasalang na tema.

Umani si Ka Popoy nang maraming puna mula sa central leadership ng CPP dahil na rin sa kanyang mga isinulat, mga dokumentong naging opisyal na tindig ng MR noon. Ilan sa mga kontrobersyal na dokumentong isinulat ni Ka Popoy ang hinggil sa taktikal na islogan na panukala ng MR: Ipatawag ang malaya at tunay na halalan!; ang dokumento hinggil sa linyang pambansang demokrasya at sosyalismo para sa kilusang paggawa; at ang mga dokumento hinggil sa paglahok sa halalan para sa interim Batasang Pambansa noong 1978.

Siyempre pa, ang pinakahuli sa mga kontrobersyal na serye ng akda na sinulat ni Ka Popoy ang Counter-Theses na naglalaman ng mga artikulong pumupuna sa Stalinista-Maoistang liderato ng CPP, sa estratehiya ng Protracted People’s War, at sa linya ng pambansang demokrasya. Ito ang mga akdang naging batayan sa tuluy-tuloy na pagtiwalag ng dating MR sa CPP at sa ebentwal na pagkakabuo ng bagong partido sa pangunguna ni Ka Popoy.

Sa kabuuan, nakilala si Ka Popoy sa pagiging maverick at tagapagtulak ng mga “ereheng” ideya sa loob ng CPP. Bantog din siya sa pagiging “irreverent” pagdating sa mga pinuno ng CPP. Sa palagay ko, ang mga katangiang ito ay katangian din ng mga mahuhusay na lider. Kailangan ang mga lider na bukas sa mga bagong ideya at hindi napasisindak sa kung sino ang mga namumuno. Pero mahigpit si Ka Popoy sa pagtiyak na kahit may kakaiba siyang ideya, igagalang niya ang dominanteng ideya sa loob ng CPP. Dahil ako at iba pang mga kasama ang humahawak noon sa gawaing edukasyon at propaganda ng MR, kung ilang beses din niya akong pinaalalahanan na maging mapagtimpi kahit sa paggamit ng mga termino na tahasang kataliwas na ng mga kaisipang laganap o isang norm na sa CPP.

Sinasabing iba ang katangian ni Ka Popoy. Siya mismo, sa panahon ng ilang di-pagkakasundo at problema, ay nagsasabi na wala siyang kaibigan, kundi political allies. Hindi ko na matandaan kung kanino nagmula ang ganitong deskripsyon; isinulat ito sa isang artikulo hinggil sa katangian ng isang partikular na komunistang lider. Hindi ito deskripsyon ng lahat ng komunistang lider.

Pero palagay ko, naibigan ni Ka Popoy ang deskripsyong ito dahil ang ibig lang sabihin nito ay pangunahin para sa kanya ang rebolusyonaryong pulitika. Dito siya nabuhay at dito siya namatay. Ito ang kanyang piniling landas. Sa kurso ng kanyang pagsusulong ng rebolusyonaryong pulitika, mayroong kaibigang nalalaglag at nadadagdag. Syempre pa, ang nalalaglag ay ang mga hindi na niya makasundo sa kanyang pampulitikang tindig. At magkaminsan, marami iyon.

Isa na ako sa mga kaibigan ni Popoy na nahiwalay sa kanya sa maikling panahon. Ito’y dahil sa hindi pagkakasundo sa ilang usaping pampulitika na ngayon ay natutuklasan kong hindi naman tahasang taliwas sa isa’t isa. Siguro’y kinailangan lamang ng panahon para ang anumang pagkakaiba ay mapagdugtong. Ang tanging hinanakit ko ay naganap ito sa panahong wala na siya.

Gayunpaman, nabubuhay ang ala-ala ng isang Ka Popoy na kilala ko, tuwing makikita kong sumusulong ang rebolusyonaryong kilusan kahit sa gitna ng mga debate at iba’t ibang ideya. Sa gitna ng ganitong kalagayan, ang Popoy na kilala ko ay walang pangiming titindig at pangungunahan ang kinakailangang pagbabago.

Marker, Pinasinayaan - pahayagang Obrero

ni Greg Bituin Jr.

(Nalathala ang artikulong ito, kalakip ang isang litrato, sa pahayagang Obrero, Marso 2004, pahina 8)

Tatlong taon makalipas ang pagpaslang kay Filemon "Ka Popoy" Lagman, nananatiling mailap ang hustisya. Tatlong taon makalipas, naghahanap pa rin ng katarungan para sa pinaslang na lider-obrero, hindi lang ang pamilya ni Ka Popoy, kundiang mga manggagawa't aktibista na sa kanilang pakikibaka ay naging bahagi si Ka Popoy.

Kasabay ng ikatlong anibersaryo ng pagkamatay ni Ka Popoy noong Pebrero 6, 2004, isang marker sa mismong lugar kung saan siya nalugmok ang inihandog ng pamilya't mga kaibigan bilang paalala sa kabayanihan ng dating chairman ng Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP). Matatandaang noong Pebrero 6, 2001, walang awang pinaslang si Ka Popoy ng mga di pa nakikilalang salarin sa Bahay ng Alumni sa UP Diliman.

Mismong ina ni Ka Popoy ang nagtanggal ng pulang tela na nakatalukbong sa marker. Nakaukit sa bandang kanan ng marker ang larawan ni Ka Popoy, habang sa bandang kaliwa naman ay nakasulat ang dalawang mensahe: Una, isang quotation na hiniram kay Friedrich Engels sa kanyang eulogy kay Karl Marx, at ang ikalawa ay mula sa sulat ni Ka Popoy sa kanyang asawa noong Hunyo 27, 1979 hinggil sa pagkakapaslang sa kanyang mahal na asawa at kasama sa pakikibaka na si Dodie Garduce. Sa itaas naman ay nakasulat: Filemon "Ka Popoy" Lagman, Working Class Hero.

Sa umaga, nagpunta ang pamilya, mga kasama't kaibigan ni Ka Popoy sa kanyang puntod sa Marikina at nag-alay ng bulaklak. Bandang hapon naman nang magtungo sila sa Bahay ng Alumni sa UP Diliman upang pasinayaan ang pagkakalagay ng marker. Nagsidalo rin dito ang mga kinatawan at kasapi ng Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), Sanlakas, SUPER, Women Rage, Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng mga Maralita ng Lungsod (KPML), ZOTO, Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK), Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), ASAMBA (Sitio Mendez), YWAP, Teatro Pabrika, atbp.

Kaugnay nito, nagbigay naman ng isang privilege speech sa Kongreso si Sanlakas representative JV Bautista na may pamagat na "Tribute to a True Hero of the Working Class and a Valiant Son of the Filipino Nation".

Dito'y nanawagan ang Sanlakas ng muling pag-iimbestiga sa pagkapaslang kay Ka Popoy. Sinabi rin ni Rep. Bautista na dapat lamang isalaysay sa Kongreso ang buhay at pakikibaka ni Ka Popoy Lagman, na tinawag niyang "one of the greatest social revolutionaries of our times".

Ayon naman kay Ka Romy Castillo ng BMP, sinabi sa kanya ni Ka Popoy noong nabubuhay pa ito na ang lahat ng manggagawa't aktibista ay dapat magpakadalubhasa sa dyalektiko-materyalismo, at basahin din ng buong puso ang mga akda nina Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, at V. I. Lenin. Idinagdag pa niya, "Hindi lamang dapat dakilain at alalahanin si Ka Popoy, kundi higit sa lahat ay tularan siya at isagawa rin ang kanyang mga isinakripisyo. Nabawasan man tayo ng isang lider-rebolusyonaryo, ay lilikha tayo ng libu-libong rebolusyonaryo."

* Picture caption - "Hindi nililimot ang mga nabulid sa dilim ng gabi!" Klasiko ang kasabihang ito sa pagkamatay ng mga bayani, tulad nina Andres Bonifacio, Ninoy Aquino, at Ka Popoy Lagman. Sa larawan, makikita ang pamilya't mga kaibigan ni Ka Popoy nang pasinayaan ang marker bilang paalaala sa kanya.

Marker ni Ka Popoy, Pinasinayaan - dyaryong Taliba

ni Gregorio V. Bituin Jr.
mula sa pahayagang Taliba ng Maralita ng KPML, Tomo IX, Blg. 1, Taong 2004, p. 6

Ilang taon makalipas ang pagpaslang kay Filemon "Ka Popoy" Lagman, nananatiling mailap ang hustisya. Hanggang ngayon ay naghahanap pa rin ng katarungan para sa pinaslang na lider-obrero, hindi lamang ang pamilya ni Ka Popoy, kundi ang mga manggagawa't maralita na naging bahagi si Ka Popoy sa kanilang pakikibaka.

Noong Pebrero 6, 2004, sa ikatlong anibersaryo ng kamatayan ni Ka Popoy, isang marker sa mismong lugar kung saan siya nalugmok ang inihandog ng pamilya't kaibigan bilang paalala sa kabayanihan ng dating tagapangulo ng Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP). Matatandaang noong Pebrero 6, 2001, walang awang pinaslang si Ka Popoy ng mga di pa nakikilalang salarin sa Bahay ng Alumni sa UP Diliman.

Mismong ina ni Ka Popoy ang nagtanggal ng pulang tela na nakatalukbong sa marker. Nasa bandang kanan ng marker ang larawan ni Ka Popoy, habang nakaukit sa bandang itaas ang mga salitang: Filemon "Ka Popoy" Lagman, Working Class Hero. Sa bandang kaliwa naman ay nakasulat ang dalawang mensahe: Una, isang quotation na hiniram kay Friedrich Engels sa kanyang pahimakas (eulogy) kay Karl Marx, at ang ikalawa naman ay mula sa sulat ni Ka Popoy sa kanyang pamilya noong Hulyo 27, 1979 hinggil sa pagkakapaslang ng militar sa kanyang mahal na asawa at kasama sa pakikibaka na si Dodie Garduce.

Narito ang kabuuang nakasulat sa marker:

On the corner of this structure, Ka Popoy leaned moments
before he was felled by an assassin's bullet on 06 February 2001

Working Class Hero

"For Ka Popoy was before else a revolutionist... Fighting was his element. And he fought with a passion, a tenacity and a success such as few could rival." - Borrowed from Friedrich Engels; eulogy to Karl Marx

"...A review of the lives of revolutionary martyrs and political prisoners cannot but arouse the most intense hatred for the enemy. For it is a long list of the most brilliant, patriotic, dedicated and self-sacrificing elements of our society, fighting for an ideal that aspires to liberate the millions upon millions of our people from poverty and oppression. Our people and our nation benefited so much from them and should have benefited much more if not for the cruelty and violence of the present fascist state." - Excerpt from Ka Popoy's letter to his family dated 27 June 1979 on the martyrdom of his wife, "beloved comrade and political partner," Dodie Garduce

This marker was unveiled by Ka Popoy’s family and friends on 06 February 2004

Ayon kay Ka Pedring Fadrigon, tagapangulo ng KPML, "Hindi dapat mawala sa ating alaala ang kagitingan ni Ka Popoy, lalo na ang pagpapalawak ng ating organisasyon tungo sa pagbabagong panlipunan. Dapat natin siyang tularan at isagawa rin natin ang kanyang mga isinakripisyo. Nawalan man tayo ng isang lider-rebolusyonaryo, tiyak na marami pang bagong Ka Popoy na susulpot. Magpatuloy tayo sa pag-oorganisa.

Martes, Pebrero 3, 2009

Lagman Buried at Sunset

Lagman buried at sunset
By Philip C. Tubeza
Inquirer News Service
Philippine Daily Inquirer February 13, 2001

SOME 30,000 people yesterday joined the six-kilometer funeral march for labor leader Filemon "Ka Popoy" Lagman from the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice in Diliman, Quezon City, to the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina.

As the sun set, the labor leader's body was finally lowered to the ground at 6:15 p.m.

His teary eyed comrades sang the "Internationale" and other revolutionary songs, including his favorite, "Kung ako ay Bumagsak (If I Fall)."

Before Lagman was buried, his family requested that the coffin's lid be opened. It was then that Lagman's children hugged their fallen father.

The labor leader’s relatives put in his coffin flowers, two packs of cigarette, a lighter, a necklace, and a sander, which he used to repair furniture whenever he was home.

Dante also slipped inside his father's jacket a slip of green paper. He did not say what was written on it.

A week after he was laid to rest, the gunmen who murdered him inside the UP campus in Diliman, Quezon City, remain free.

Those who attended the funeral were mostly members of Sanlakas, the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, and the newly formed Partido ng Manggagawa.

Besides the slain Lagman’s family and supporters, politicians and business leaders attended the Mass and the funeral march.

The Inquirer sighted Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis "Chavit" Singson, businessman Jose Concepcion Jr., UP Professor Walden Bello, actor Danny Javier of Kompil II, Pastor "Boy" Saycon, and former Rep. Jose "Peping" Cojuangco and his wife Tingting.

The leaders of the "reaffirmist" wing of the Leftist movement were not present but Nathanael Santiago, Vic Ladlad and Satur Ocampo came during the wake.

Lagman’s allies in the rejectionist wing, like leaders of the Sosyalistang Partido ng Paggawa, Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KPD), and the Freedom from Debt Coalition joined the funeral march.

What caught the attention of onlookers were the beret-wearing members of the Partido ng Manggagawang Pilipino (PMP), the underground political party that Lagman formed after he broke away from the Communist Party of the Philippines.

PMP members, wearing red shirts and red kerchiefs hiding half of their faces, served as the "close-in security" for the Lagman family. Lagman’s coffin was mounted on a 10-wheel truck.

Director Edgar Aglipay, Task Force Popoy head, told the Inquirer that the police were having a hard time arresting Lagman’s killers whom he described as "professionals."

"But I brief the family everyday about the investigation and they are satisfied with its progress," said Aglipay, who attended the funeral Mass around 1 p.m.

But former Rep. Edcel Lagman, the victim's brother, said he and his relatives were not happy with the "slow pace" of the probe.

"We will only be happy if the culprits are arrested and are put behind bars," he said.

"If they don't fulfill what they promised (to collar the suspects), I myself know what has to be done (Pag di tinupad, ako na mismo ang maniningil)," the senior Lagman said.

The funeral march started at 2:30 p.m. as BMP and Sanlakas members chanted and waived their red and blue banners. They vowed to continue Lagman’s struggle for the welfare of workers.

PMP members carried red flags with the hammer and sickle printed on it. Four PMP members also stood guard beside Lagman’s coffin on the truck.

The march snaked first around the UP campus, passing the Bahay ng Alumni, where Lagman was shot Tuesday last week, and the College of Mass Communication, where he studied journalism for a year before going full time in the revolutionary movement.

Thousands of restaurant workers, students, carpenters, and urban poor lined Katipunan Avenue as the march passed by Miriam College and Ateneo de Manila University.

When the procession reached the boundary of Marikina and Quezon City, Marikina Mayor Bayani Fernando and around 10,000 of his constituents welcomed the funeral cortege.

The march reached the gate of Loyola Memorial Park at 5:10 p.m. but its rear end was still in front of Ateneo, according to Supt. Domingo Alzada, Marikina Traffic Enforcement Unit Chief.

Firecrackers and cries for justice greeted the truck carrying Lagman’s body as it entered the cemetery. Thousands of other BMP and Sanlakas members were waiting.

But as it wound up the final stretch of road from the entrance to Lagman’s grave, the marchers were noticeably quiet except for the chants from the marchers' sound system.

The silence continued as Lagman’s casket was brought down from the truck for the final viewing of his family.

When the coffin was opened, Lagman’s mother Cecilia kept her eyes on her dead son, who still wore his brown jacket and blue pants. She sobbed continuously.

"She is a brave mother," Edcel said as he comforted his mom.

Edcel's brother Hermon, also an organizer, disappeared during martial law. He is presumed dead. It was his birthday yesterday.

"Ka Popoy" was not an "emotionally expressive" father. He left his children to the care of his mother when he went underground and would visit them usually during summer.

He had said that the revolutionary movement was his priority.

"This is not the end. The struggle will go on," said Wilson Fortaleza, Sanlakas president, after Lagman’s grave was finally sealed.

Earlier in the day, comrades of the fallen labor leader trooped to the Bahay ng Alumni for the launching of the new party-list group Partido ng Manggagawa.

Victor Briz, president of the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, said the new party-list group would carry out Lagman’s vision for an electoral party for Filipino workers. The party, he said, would campaign to put these representatives in Congress.

The party might also field candidates in the local elections to fulfill Lagman’s dream of empowering the workers.

The goal of its participation in the elections is to enact pro-labor legislation and ensure the implementation of pro-worker policies. Its minimum platform is the protection of workers' interests; its maximum is the emancipation of the working class," the PMP said in a statement.

Elected to represent the party in Congress should it win enough votes in the coming elections were Sanlakas Rep. Renato Magtubo, Briz, Gerry Rivera of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association, Roy Cordova and Leody de Guzman. With a report from Andrea Trinidad-Echavez

Lunes, Pebrero 2, 2009

A 'Dirty War' And The Death Of Popoy Lagman

A 'Dirty War' And The Death Of Popoy Lagman

The theories and possible conspiracies in the death of one of the Philippine revolutionary movement’s most controversial figures.


Over a week after Felimon “Popoy” Lagman was gunned down last February 6 in the sprawling campus of the University of the Philippines in Quezon City, all that police could come up with in their investigation are “leads.”

Some crucial leads, however, pointed to the Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB) and the Revolutionary Proletariat Army (RPA), factionalist groups that bolted the mainstream leftist revolutionary movement several years ago, as possible perpetrators.

The leads include a cartograph of a man that, Popoy’s son Dante said, matches the face of one of the four suspected gunmen he saw at the crime scene.

Another is that the .45 caliber slugs recovered on the scene most likely came from the same pistol used in the killing of Chinese-Filipino businessman Wilson Ong in Valenzuela, Metro Manila, in 1998. The ABB had owned the killing.

Certain eyewitness accounts also said some of the gunmen looked familiar as they used to be seen along with the slain labor leader.

Because the police could not come up with arrests last February 12 – the deadline set by Popoy’s colleagues and, incidentally, the day of his funeral – the Lagman family decided to hire private investigators to ferret out the truth. Former Rep. Edcel Lagman, Popoy’s brother, said police investigators were not moving fast enough. The Lagmans want the gunmen as well as their mastermind arrested. And soon.

Popoy’s murder was turning out to be part of a bigger assassination plot engineered either by his own enemies or by a group identified with ousted president Joseph Estrada seeking to destabilize the newly nstalled government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Theory No. 1

Popoy broke away from the underground Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in 1993, along with some cadres of the Metro Manila-Rizal Regional Committee. To top it all, he brought along with him the urban guerrilla group ABB, carting away a cache of arms, ammunition and logistics. The factionalism, it is said, was the offshoot of a line struggle in which he espoused urban insurrectionism in place of the protracted people’s war of the mainstream revolutionary movement.

The ABB, headed by Nilo dela Cruz, eventually split with Popoy reportedly due to, among other reasons, a rift over a P250 million payoff deal with the PEA-Amari in 1997 in exchange for the relocation of the slum dwellers in the reclamation land. Two years later, workers at the Philippine Airlines accused Popoy of treachery for reportedly selling out to Estrada crony and PAL owner Lucio Tan in a labor row at the airlines.

Dela Cruz, meanwhile, joined forces with Arturo Tabara who had also formed his own group, the Revolutionary Proletarian Army (RPA). Both men entered into peace talks with Estrada in late 1999 where the former president, along with Philippine National Police chief Gen. Panfilo Lacson, reportedly hatched an assassination plot against exiled National Democratic Front (NDF) chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison.

Popoy’s slaying could be a spin off of this bigger plot against Sison.

In a radio interview on January 31 or a few days before Popoy was killed, Lacson’s arch enemy, cashiered police Col. Reynaldo Beroya, confirmed the plot to kill Sison. Their own accounts as well as other reports suggested that the plot on Sison’s life became operational in May last year with Romulo Kintanar as alleged project officer, along with Tabara, Dela Cruz and police and military intelligence agents.

Kintanar once headed the CPP’s military commission and also bolted the party where he was accused of military adventurism leading to the bloody purge of innocent cadres and Red fighters particularly in Mindanao. He was, at the time the plot to kill Sison was begun, a top official of the government TESDA.

In the plot to kill Sison was a five-man hit team headed allegedly by one Joey Mortera (aka Redford) and Nana, the chief triggerman. Reports said that Sison, while crossing the street to the NDF office in Utrecht, the Netherlands, was about to be shot but the assassins backed out upon seeing a child being carried by the target.

The backup triggerman was eventually arrested and detained by the Dutch police thus aborting the October plot. Another plot was scheduled last December but was likewise aborted.

Reports said Popoy could have known of the plot considering he had personal ties with Kintanar. His second wife (the first was killed by Marcos soldiers during martial law) is the sister of Edgar Jopson while Kintanar’s second wife is the widow of Jopson. (Jopson, an Ateneo moderate who turned national democrat, was killed by Marcos agents in 1982 in Mindanao, southern Philippines.)

In a statement last week, the NDF said that the RPA-ABB could have killed Popoy on suspicion that he leaked the plot. Popoy was said to have been consulted by military agents in connection with the plot to kill Sison.

Leaders of the RPA-ABB have long been denounced for being “military assets.” In fact, the group was accused a week ago by Rafael Coscolluela, governor of Negros Occidental in the Visayas, for collaborating with the police and military in anti-insurgency operations. They have also been accused of acting, in the guise of rounding up petty criminals, as the private army of Marcos and Estrada crony Eduardo Cojuangco in his vast plantations in the same province.

The police cartographs and eyewitness accounts so far matched those of certain RPA-ABB elements and the slugs were similar to those used by the group in Ong’s killing in 1998, an incident owned by the group for what they claimed was the victim’s “anti-labor” practices.

If this indeed was a strong lead found by police investigators, why the apparent delay in arresting the alleged culprits and brains as their whereabouts are probably known to police and military authorities? Is the RPA-ABB, so far the prime suspect in Popoy’s murder, indeed enjoying protection from certain top military and police officials?

Sison, meanwhile, has long been wanted by security forces since his release from Marcos imprisonment in 1986. His and his family’s passports had been canceled. There is likewise a long-standing reward for his capture, dead or alive.

Other Theories

Popoy could have also been killed as part of a destabilization plot by a group of political cronies and military loyalists of Estrada.

A coup plot had been revealed late last year at the height of the jueteng (illegal numbers game) scandal and constitutional crisis involving Estrada. The plot was to be staged by his cronies and military allies with the aim of installing a junta where Estrada would act as figurehead president. The plot has been confirmed by Justice Secretary Hernando Perez when he appeared before the Supreme Court on February 15.

Reportedly part of the plot was the December 30 bombings in Metro Manila where scores of innocent civilians including children were killed and almost a hundred wounded. Police were quick to blame the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for the bombings but its leaders denied any involvement. A dawn raid was mounted by military agents on a Moro community in Quezon City but, finding no evidence, those arrested were released except at least three who were instead charged with “illegal possession of firearms.”

Before the explosions, however, was the November 24 abduction of public-relations man Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver. Close to both Estrada and former president Fidel Ramos, Dacer was said to be in possession of damning information that would have tightened the impeachment case against Estrada. Dacer was suspected of leading a “demolition job” against Estrada and he was silenced probably to preempt any further damage on the president. Estrada had earlier denied any role in Dacer’s disappearance. Still, groups loyal to him could have staged his abduction with or without his knowledge.

But with his ouster on January 20, the group loyal to Estrada became more desperate to stage a comeback to regain power and this was to be achieved by reactivating the coup plan. President Arroyo herself warned she would crush any coup plot against the new administration. A few days later, Popoy was gunned down.

Sources formerly privy to Estrada theorize that this elaborate plan would be preceded by an orchestrated move consisting of a possible assassination as well as legal, legislative and political activities, including the use of “mass mobilizations” and pressure crowds. The pro-Estrada crowds now massing up outside the Supreme Court and other government offices could be part of a build-up.

According to this rightist plan, Popoy’s killing would incite his colleagues to retaliate against suspected militant organizations or would just simply provoke actions that would have a destabilizing effect on the new administration. Such a scenario is similar to the plots in 1986 and 1987 where, respectively, Kilusang Mayo Uno (May 1 Movement) president Rolando Olalia and his driver Leonor Alay-ay were abducted, hogtied and tortured before they were killed in Antipolo, Rizal, and Bayan secretary general Lean Alejandro was ambushed in cold blood in Quezon City.

The killings were instigated by a rightist military group allegedly with a politician’s backing and were meant to enrage the organized Left and take vengeance on the new Aquino government. But with the identities of the killers and their mastermind already established, the militants never allowed themselves to be used by these provocations that would have led to further bloodshed and the plotters taking over government in the end. Justice, the militants thought, would take its own course later.

Other theories said that Popoy, who was identified closely with the ABB before, courted many enemies including the police and incorrigible company executives. In a moment of security lapse, the ever alert Popoy was gunned down in a reprisal .

But he could also have been a victim of a covert move by US or US-backed psy-war experts in the AFP and the police force to initiate yet another process of purging the legal radical mass movement that has, despite its various ideological colors, recently renewed its challenge to the reactionary establishment and American security interests in the Philippines. In the new millennium, this cold war mentality remains a danger.

This theory is not entirely without basis. In the Aquino presidency, rightist elements in the AFP and police instigated the Mendiola massacre of January 1987 in the process scuttling the peace talks between government and the NDF. This was followed by an all-out war against the revolutionary movement, at the center of which was the US-devised low-intensity conflict (LIC). The LIC “dirty war” resulted, among others, in the extermination of mass leaders in the cities and mass terror in the countryside. But a series of coup d’etat was also mounted against the government. The Aquino administration was given no respite and no chance to repair the economy until a new government led by a former Marcos police general came into power. #

News on Ka Popoy's burial - Inquirer

Lagman buried today; work stoppage called
By Gerald G. Lacuarta
Inquirer News Service

Philippine Daily Inquirer February 12, 2001

ABOUT 40,000 workers are expected to walk out of their offices and factories in Metro Manila and Southern Tagalog today to bring slain labor leader Filemon "Popoy" Lagman to his final resting place.

The militant Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), which Lagman founded and headed since 1995, called for a work stoppage this noon, in time for the funeral Mass at the Church of the Holy Sacrifice inside the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman, Quezon City.

Benjie Velasco, BMP spokesperson, said some 10,000 members of the urban poor group, Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod, would join the workers in the indignation march from the UP to the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City.

"The employers of these workers have already agreed to let them join the funeral march," Velasco said.

The workers belong to unions of big companies in Metro Manila like Fortune Tobacco, Republic Asahi Glass, Gelmart, Wrangler, Noritake and Manila Bay Spinning Mills.

Unions of Philippine Long Distance Co. and Philippine Airlines will also send delegations.

As a tribute to Lagman, Velasco said the Partido ng Manggagawa would hold its founding congress in the morning at the UP Bahay ng Alumni, where the BMP chair was gunned down on Feb. 6 by four still unidentified assassins.

Sack Wycoco calls

A militant fisherfolk group urged President Macapagal-Arroyo to recall the appointment of Reynaldo Wycoco as director of the National Bureau of Investigation for allegedly insinuating that BMP's rival groups in the Left were involved in Lagman's killing.

The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) made the appeal after Wycoco, a former police official, on Friday pointed at communist groups as the culprits, citing the ideological rift between Lagman and Jose Ma. Sison, founding chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

"The strongest angle would be the rift between Joma and Ka Popoy. As of now, that is the most probable angle based on our assessment," Wycoco had told the Inquirer, though he added that investigators had not ruled out the possible involvement of rightist groups.

Rodolfo Sambajon, Pamalakaya chair, said Wycoco's statements were irresponsible and malicious.

"Wycoco's selling point for his accusation lacks basis. It is plain rumor mongering and highly speculative," Sambajon said.

CPP spokesperson Gregorio "Ka Roger" Rosal has denied his group's involvement in the killing, saying "there was no urgent or grave reason" for the CPP and its armed wing, the New People's Army, to go after Lagman.

Even BMP's Velasco cited a "small possibility" that Sison's group had a hand in the killing, saying Sison has only resorted to character assassination against Lagman.

Velasco said that even if another rival communist group, the Revolutionary Proletarian Party-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB), was involved, the assailants could not be branded as "communists." Lagman used to command the ABB, an urban-based hit squad.

"These elements could be the ones who have already surrendered and are now being used by the military," Velasco said.

Revenge angle

Sison has pointed at the "revenge angle" as the main motive in the assassination.

"For the benefit of serious investigators, I wish to point out a probable connection between the ongoing assassination plot against me and the killing of Popoy Lagman," Sison said in a statement e-mailed from his base in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

"Since the exposure of the assassination plot by Col. Reynaldo Berroya and then by me, the plotters, according to reliable sources of the National Democratic Front, have been extremely upset and angry about the leak of information from inside or from the periphery of the circle of plotters and operatives," he claimed.

"It is highly probable that the assassination plotters saw Popoy Lagman as the leak," he said.

"The killing of Lagman is probably a punitive action of the RPA-ABB against a suspected leak in the assassination plot against me, as well as a component of a larger scheme of pro-Estrada groups to sow bloody intrigue and destabilize the new administration," Sison said.

As a result, he said, "it is not at all surprising that, according to reports, the (sketches) in the hands of investigators resemble suspects in previous hit jobs of the RPA-ABB, which is notorious for its close connections with Estrada, Gen. Panfilo Lacson and Eduardo Cojuangco."

The CPP founder, however, clarified that "Lagman had nothing to do with the assassination plot as an active conspirator because he could not be in the same project with his bitter enemies, Nilo de la Cruz and Arturo Tabara."

Sison earlier claimed being the target of an assassination plot hatched by military and police authorities conspiring with former communist rebels. -- With a report from Delfin T. Mallari Jr., PDI Southern Luzon Bureau

500 firms affected by work stoppage for Popoy funeral

500 firms affected by work stoppage for Popoy funeral
by Mayen Jaymalin and Pia Lee-Brago
(The Philippine Star) Updated February 13, 2001

More than 500 factories and commercial establishments stopped operations at noon yesterday as thousands of workers walked out of their jobs to join a funeral march for slain labor leader Felimon "Popoy" Lagman.

Wearing red shirts to symbolize their struggle, the workers marched to the University of the Philippines chapel in Diliman, Quezon City, where a Mass was said for Lagman.

The workers held a brief noise barrage, which singer Danny Javier of the Apo Hiking Society said was originated by Lagman as a form of protest during the Marcos dictatorship.

In a homily, Fr. Robert Reyes described Lagman as "someone who would not fit in the mold of a traditional religious follower" as he had died fighting for the oppressed.

Lagman’s casket was brought out of the UP cha-pel at around 2:45 p.m. and placed in an open truck with wreaths and his posters for the funeral procession to Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City.

Among those who attended the Mass and Lagman’s burial were Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis "Chavit" Singson, Isabela Rep. Heherson Alvarez, Quezon City Rep. Dante Liban, businessman Jose Concepcion, former Tarlac Rep. Jose "Peping" Cojuangco and his wife, former Tarlac Gov. Margarita "Tingting" Cojuangco.

About 1,000 policemen were deployed to escort the marchers, while at least 100 others stood guard at the Loyola Memorial Park against possible saboteurs.

Members of the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) vowed to "hunt down" the killers of Lagman, who founded the militant labor union.

"We will render justice in our own way," the BMP said in an official statement yesterday. "We will hunt down the perpetrators and mastermind of the heinous crime to the ends of the earth."

While Lagman lay in state at the UP chapel yesterday morning, his followers held the founding congress of the Partido ng Manggagawang Pilipino and announced that it would take part in May’s congressional elections.

Lagman organized the party before he was shot dead by four unidentified assassins in front of the Bahay ng Alumni inside the UP campus last Feb. 6.

At Malacañang, Presidential Spokesman Renato Corona told reporters the huge march could scare away investors at a time when the economy needs healing following the ouster of President Joseph Estrada last month.

"We are hoping that there will not be any work stoppage because we are conditioning foreign and local investors and we are trying to turn the economy around and a work stoppage is something negative," he said.

Corona said President Arroyo was disappointed that Lagman’s killing took place during the first two weeks of her administration when her desire was to have peace in the country.

"The death of Ka Popoy was really saddening because he is a great person whom many admire," he said. "He will forever go down in the history of Philippine labor as the pillar of the labor movement."

Corona said authorities are working overtime to track down Lagman’s killers, but BMP leaders refused to rule out retaliation for his death.

Authorities said Lagman’s murder could be part of a larger plot to destablize the fledgling Arroyo administration which came to power following a military-backed people’s uprising.

Police are gathering evidence against a businessman who allegedly shelled out the P5-million bounty for the assassination of Lagman.

Sources told The STAR yesterday two of Lagman’s suspected killers, who were found to be former communist hit men on the payroll of police and military intelligence, have been arrested and are now in police custody.

The police "handler" of one of the suspects is the brother of a prime mover of people power II at EDSA, which catapulted President Arroyo to power, sources added.

Two other suspects who acted as lookouts have also been identified as former communist hit men who were allegedly on the payroll of the defunct Presidential Anti-Crime Commission.

On the other hand, exiled communist leader Jose Ma. Sison said in a statement yesterday the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) "had no urgent reason" to kill Lagman because it could have had a "probable connection to the assassination plot" against him.

"The New People’s Army has more important things to do than shoot down someone who had just participated in the broad united front to topple Estrada," Sison’s statement said.

Sison said the CPP-NPA-National Democratic Front and militant groups led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan had criticized the "Resign All" slogan of Lagman’s Sandigang Lakas ng Sambayanan (Sanlakas).

Sison said despite their ideological difference that led to factionalism in the communist movement, "there had been no urgent and strong reason for the CPP to undertake punitive action" against Lagman.

Sison said police investigators should look into the "probable connection" between the killing of Lagman and the assassination plot against him.

"It is highly probable that assassination plotters saw Popoy Lagman as the leak," read Sison’s statement. "Popoy had nothing to do with the assassination plot as an active conspirator."

At the Senate, the committee on justice and human rights is set to investigate the killing of Lagman and the disappearance of public relations man Salvador "Bubby" Dacer last Nov. 24.

In a resolution Sen. Renato Cayetano said the investigation will assure the people that the government is capable of protecting them from lawlessness.

Expected to testify at the hearing are the director of the National Bureau of Investigation, and the chiefs of the Philippine National Police and Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. –With Non Alquitran, Benjie Villa, Perseus Echeminada, Marichu Villanueva

Popoy, a rebel with a soft spot, says daughter

Popoy, a rebel with a soft spot, says daughter
By Andrea Trinidad-Echavez and Gerald Lacuarta

Philippine Daily Inquirer February 9, 2001

ON THE EVE of his assassination, Filemon “Popoy” Lagman went shopping and had dinner with his partner Michelle Caños and his two children, Dante and Iskra, at one of the largest malls in Metro Manila.

“He was ecstatic that night. There was a sale and Dante bought him a pair of slacks. He also tried on a pair of shoes but they were a bit expensive,” Iskra recalled with a smile.

“He was so happy in the last few days, always in high spirits,” said Caños, who was with Lagman when he was felled by bullets in front of “Bahay ng Alumni” on the UP Diliman campus on Tuesday afternoon.

The off-white slacks bought by his son became his burial outfit, paired with a green jacket that Michelle gave him last Christmas.

Iskra, 23, described her father, one of the extreme Left's most controversial figures, as “very sweet, thoughtful and a very funny guy.”

He was also a very misunderstood man, she told the Inquirer in an interview at her father's wake at a university chapel.

“People may say nasty things about him. But for those who knew him, he was very sweet, considerate and very levelheaded. He was a gentleman,” she said.

Michelle portrayed her late partner as spontaneous and sometimes childlike, a one-time revolutionary with a soft spot.

“He might have exuded a strong personality but at times, he could be like a child. He was always excited when you would give him a gift,” she said.

In his lighter moments, he was “very naughty,” she added fondly.

But the professional Lagman was a different animal, a former communist cadre, radical labor leader and committed activist with a deep understanding of worker’s issues, Michelle added.

The long route

Iskra said her father–though he traveled without bodyguards–was conscious of the need for security and would usually take maze-like routes to mislead anyone who might be tailing him.

“Even if he was just going to the next street, he would take the long route to make sure that he could not be followed,” she said.

“He would often tell us that he only had two destinies: either jail or cemetery,” said Wilson Fortaleza, spokesperson of the group Sanlakas, which Lagman founded with other labor leaders.


Iskra, who grew up with her paternal grandmother, said she had “not an inch of doubt” about her father’s integrity, despite allegations linking him to scandals involving the Public Estate Authority and Philippine Airlines.

“I saw how he sacrificed for the cause of the labor movement. He was uncompromising when it came to the principles he believed in. It hurt him, we knew, but he would tell us that the intrigue was part of the struggle,” she said.

“He had no personal ambition. Everything he did was always for the good of the movement. He did not own anything, except perhaps, for his clothes and a few personal things,” Iskra said.

She admitted that, at times, especially when she was confronted with personal problems, she would question her father’s deep involvement in the movement.

“But when he explained things to me, the ill feelings (went away). I know he was doing what he did, not only for us, but for the people,” Iskra said.

While her father spent most of his time away from his family, “he was always there when we needed him,” she said, adding, “all we had to do was call him and he would come.”


Lagman’s friends, family and comrades hope to mobilize 50,000 people for his funeral march on Monday.

Former Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman vowed to carry on the fight of his brother in the halls of Congress along with militant labor groups who are gearing for the party-list elections in May.

“With more resolve, I am going to run for congressman in the 4th district of Quezon City and carry on the fight,” Lagman said in an interview Wednesday night at the UP Church of the Risen Lord where his younger brother's remains lie.

The former congressman, one of the lawyers who assisted the House prosecution panel in the aborted impeachment trial of ousted President Joseph Estrada, said his brother's assassination was not unexpected.

“It could have happened any time,” he said.

“He lived dangerously,” he said. “He lived by the hour.”

Burial, birth

Sanlakas Rep. Renato Magtubo said the Partido ng Manggagawa, which Popoy Lagman helped organize, was scheduled to hold its founding congress before Lagman's funeral march on Monday.

“The establishment of the Partido ng Manggagawa, the worker’s very own political party that will participate in the coming party-list elections, will be our tribute to Ka Popoy,” Magtubo said.

“The day of his burial will be the day the Partido ng Manggagawa is born,” he said.

“Ka Popoy will not die in vain,” Magtubo said. “We will make sure that this very last project, the Partido ng Manggagawa, will be a success.”

The founding congress will be held at UP's Bahay ng Alumni, where Lagman was ambushed.

A necrological service is scheduled for 3 p.m., followed by the funeral march at 4 p.m. from the Church of the Risen Lord to the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina.

Magtubo said that in the last few days of his life, Lagman was steeped in discussions with union leaders of the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino over the formation of the party, but added that Lagman himself did not plan to run as candidate in the party-list elections.

Lagman had wanted local union presidents to be fielded as nominees in the party-list elections, and as candidates for councilors and provincial board members in the local elections, according to Magtubo.

“Ka Popoy firmly believed that union presidents should be the voice of the working class in the halls of Congress,” Magtubo said.

A lot of dreams

Bob Anduiza, president of the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (Fasap), said the worker’s party was one of Lagman’s “biggest dreams” for the labor movement.

“He would always say that the only way to fight and survive is to organize,” Anduiza said.

Anduiza said he knew Lagman since 1994 and was “impressed by his dedication to alleviate the plight of the workers and commitment to union organization.”

“He had a lot of dreams for the workers,” Anduiza said. “He wanted to unite labor. And his vision was one day to have our own newspaper and radio station.”

"You can't kill ideas"

Edgardo Bilayon, president of the Bagong Kapisanan ng mga Manggagawa sa Philippine National Railways, said the gunmen may have killed Lagman but not the ideals he stood for.

“You can't kill his ideas. You can’t kill his good intentions,” Bilayon said.

Elmer Labog, secretary general of the Kilusang Mayo Uno, said Lagman’s assassination would not deter militant labor groups from continuing with the fight for worker’s rights and welfare.

“Whoever Lagman’s murderers are, they are mistaken if they think that the militancy of the labor movement will be lessened by Lagman’s death,” Labog said.

“We can even say that in the coming months after Lagman’s death, there will be an upsurge in the organization and mobilization of workers espousing genuine and militant trade unionism,” he said.

Linggo, Pebrero 1, 2009

Kaupod Popoy


Pasidungog sang sahing Mamumugon sa Kampo sa ila Baganihan: KAUPOD POPOY!
Ginsulat sa Hiligaynon ni Kaupod Seling
January 24, 2009

Pebrero 6, 2001, samtang aktibo ang tanan sa pagpatuman sang bag o ng a direksyon sa paghimakas sang Mamumugon sa Industriya sang Kalamay, piket, rally, trouping, isa ka masanag nga palaabuton, isa ka maathag nga direksyon, nakibot ang tanan isa ka makasiligni nga balita ginpatay si kaupod Popoy, nanuhaytuhay nga reaksyon, nalooy, akig, gusto magtimalos! Nagapamangkot sin-o ang sa likod sini? Sin-o si Ka Popoy sa Mamumugon sa Industriya sang kalamay sa masami ginatawag mamumugon sa kampo? Sa matuod indi sya bantog sa mamumugon sa kampo di katulad sang iban nga lider sang unyon, aktibista, lider komunista.nabatian lamang ang ngalan nya sang pagtadlong sang direksyon sa paghimakas sang mamumugon upod na ang sa industriya sa kalamay. Sa malawig nga panahon nga nangin patay-sindi ang ila pagpakig away, madamu nga kabuhi ang ginbuhis, indi sustinido ang pagtay-og sa poder sang AgalonMayduta/ Kapitalista, indi na maisip ang nagkalapukan nga mga lider mamumugon. Ang pamangkot husto bala ang banas nga aton ginausoy? Sang maklaro ini nga palamangkutanon nangin mapagsik liwat ang mga mamumugon sa pagduso sang ila paghimakas. Ang kontribusyon sang kaupod isa ka daku nga igpaw sa kahublagan mamumugon ilabe nasa Mamumugon sa industriya sang Kalamay, natay-og ang mga hasyendero, kapitalista kag estado.

Ang lupok sang pusil matingil sa dalunggan sang ginapigos nga mamumugon nga amo ang nagpukan sa isa ka matuod-tuod nga baganihan sang sahing mamumugon. Ang hambal sang Kapitalista kag Hasyendero wala na ang sagabal sa ila dalan, apang nagsala sila indi ini makaupang nga padayunon ang ginsuguran sang isa ka matuod nga lider, nangin hangkat, isa ka inspirasyon…!

Madamo nga mga kaupdanan abyan, himata ang nagpakig ugyon sang panahon nga gindul ong sa katapusan nga palahuwayan ang napukan ang matuod tuod nga Lider Mamumugon, Ultimo nga ginpabalon sang mga Sahing Mamumugon sa Kampo amo ang ila PURONG sa ulo samtang nagatapas kag nagapas-an sang tubo kag nagasulay sa init kag naga atubang sa Pagpamigos kag Pagpanghimulos sang sahing hasyendero kapitalista nangin taming sa balhas nga nagaagay..TAMING katulad sang ginbilin nga Prinsipyo sang isa ka Kaupod POPOY!!!