AFP mum on Joma's return as CPP chief
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - June 17, 2014 - 5:52pm

MANILA, Philippines- The military on Tuesday kept mum on reports that self-exiled rebel leader Jose Ma. Sison is again calling the shots for the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), saying it would continue to perform its mission regardless of who is leading the group.

Armed Forces public affairs chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala could not confirm the supposed change in the communist leadership, which supposedly took place after CPP chairman Benito Tiamzon and his wife Wilma were arrested in March.

“We have not released an information on that,” Zagala said.

“Regardless of who their leader is, our goal is to end the armed struggle. What is important is we deal with the New People's Army (NPA) on the ground,” he added.

Zagala said they would continue to reach out to the rebels to convince them to live peaceful lives.

“Although there is no peace process, there are other means to implement the peace process by working with stakeholders,” he said.

“What is important to us is that we're able to continue to talk with the New People's Army on the ground and their leaders in order to end the armed struggle.”

A security official who requested anonymity has said Sison is calling the shots anew for the CPP following the capture of the Tiamzons last March.

The source said Sison would likely play the role until a permanent successor to Tiamzon is named.

“For now, Joma (Sison) is the one dictating orders but he can only deal with policy because you have to be here to lead the revolution,”  the source said.

The official said it might take about a year before the CPP could name Tiamzon’s successor.

Sison served as CPP chairman until he left for The Netherlands in 1987.

Tiamzon, his wife Wilma, and five other rebels were apprehended by security forces in Aloguinsan, Cebu last March 22, a development that officials claimed would cause a leadership vacuum in the insurgent movement

The Tiamzons are facing 15 counts of murder and was arrested on a warrant issued by a regional trial court in Leyte. – Alexis Romero with reports from Venice Amoroso and Anna Bajo

ALEXIS ROMERO ARMED FORCES BENITO TIAMZON COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE PHILIPPINES JOSE MA NEW PEOPLE RAMON ZAGALA SISON TIAMZON TIAMZONS
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