The heated exchange of words between the military and left-leaning groups is far from over.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Eduardo Año hit back at Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria “Joma” Sison for denying getting shares from “extortion money” by his group’s armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).
In a statement on Wednesday, Año labeled Sison a “liar” and a “master deceiver” over his denial of benefiting from so-called revolutionary taxes that the NPA collects from plantation owners, contractors and businessmen.
Sison had said he does not need to extract money from such taxes because a Dutch charitable foundation, friends and his relatives provide for his medical and personal expenses outside the country.
He has been on self-exile in The Netherlands for almost 30 years.
According to Año, the top leader of the CPP is expected to deny such allegations, saying it would be more “surprising” if Sison will admit that he has been scraping up money from the “revolutionary taxes.”
“He will definitely disavow that because he is a liar. A master deceiver, a criminal,” he said.
The military chief recalled the Plaza Miranda bombing in Quiapo, Manila during the 1970s, pointing out that Sison’s left-leaning group perpetrated the incident, which killed a child and a photographer and wounded some Liberal Party candidates for the senatorial and local elections back then.
The Plaza Miranda bombing prompted then-President Ferdinand Marcos to declare martial law nationwide, warning of a communist insurgency in the country.
“Only someone with such a vicious mind can hatch and execute a plan like the bombing of Plaza Miranda that caused the death and wounding of several innocent people. And our people have already realized that,” Año said.
Despite Sison’s rebuttal, he maintaned that Sison “traded ideology for money, principles of perks [and]cause for benefits.”
Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the military to crack down on communist rebels, scrapped peace negotiations with the CPP’s political wing, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, over recent attacks by the NPA on government security forces.