Who will replace Agcaoili?

Teodoro Alcuitas

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) top negotiator died on Thursday (July 26) in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Fidel V. Agcaoili’s death by “..massive internal bleeding” was announced by CPP leader Jose Maria Sison, who together with Agcaoili, has been living in exile in The Netherlands for decades.

Agcaoili would have been 76 in August.He took over as Chief Negotiator for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in 2016 after its long-time head, Luis Jalandoni resigned.

The NDFP is the political arm of the CPP and has been leading the negotiations for a peace treaty with the Philippine government under the auspices of the Norwegian government.

Agcaoili’s remains would be flown to the Philippines in accordance with his family’s wishes, the communist leader added. He co-founded the CPP, according to a Facebook post by Sison. Agcaoili was detained and tortured during the Marcos dictatorship.

Agcaoili considered the Duterte regime the most challenging of all governments he has dealt with. In an interview wth Liberation, the NDFP’s official organ, this was his response:

“Challenging? This government (Duterte).  Because we don’t know where Duterte is heading.  It is mixed up and confused.  But we need to push while always being prepared and vigilant.  We need to push for maximum reforms and see how far we can go.  Let’s see. That’s why it’s challenging. We need to get the necessary reforms for the benefit of the people, for the country to develop and advance.  But we are also aware that he has his own interests, his class interests.  Hence, the need for vigilance and preparedness.”

A Party in turmoil?

Who will replace Agcaoili?

With Agcaoili’s death, the party faces another vacuum in its leadership – its top leaders ageing and some captured by the Philippine military.

The couple, Benito and Wilma Tiamzon raise their fists in defiance after their capture in 2015. (Inquirer.net)

Dubbed the ‘power couple’, Benito and Wilma Tiamzon took over the running of the party while Sison was in exile.

Both were captured by the military in 2015 but were released later to join the negotiating panel in The Netherlands. Both are into their 70’s.

Tiamzon and Sison have reportedly been in a power struggle for their differences in how to run the party.

The two however seemed to reconcile after the release of the Tiamzons and meeting in Amsterdam – 30 years after their last meeting in the Philippines.

But despite the twists and turns of the over 50-year old party, said to be the oldest-running party of its kind in the world, it has shown its resiliency and continues to play a significant role in Philippine society.

Ertswhile rivals Benito Tiamzon and Joma Sison (back) embrace in Oslo after 30 years. (GMA News)