The Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa (RPM-P), whose armed component is the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB), is actually but a small group based largely in Negros Island.
RPM-P was formed by cadres in the Visayas of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) when the said party broke up into Rejectionist and Reaffirmist factions. The ABB, if I remember it right, was originally the armed partisan unit of the CPP in the Manila-Rizal region but was later ordered deactivated by the party leadership, thus its drift to the rejectionist camp.
Unlike the Reaffirmists, whose party, the CPP and armed component, the New Peoples Army, have remained united and even strengthened and expanded, I have become clueless to the development of the Rejectionists, who have split into many factions.
But I still remember Carapali Lualhati (Stephen Paduano), who figured in the news several years ago when his people targeted then congressman Crisologo Abines of the second district of Cebu Province, with death. I thought then that rejectionist Romulo Kintanar, who was later killed by CPP elements, was behind their entry into the second district. A Kintanar, Galileo, ran against Abines at that time.
Anyway, the RPM-P and RPA-ABB would later into a peace pact with the Philippine Government. That was probably expected considering the group’s seeming loss of its ideological anchor. Now comes this report that the splittists have also split.
(This story, written by Carla Gomez, came out in the website of the Philippine Daily Inquirer last June 6, 2007)
Two factions within a communist rebel group operating in Negros and Panay have formalized their split, but both keep on using the same name, the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa-Pilipinas (RPM-P).
The RPM-P, in a congress held somewhere in Negros Occidental during the weekend unanimously approved the expulsion of Nilo de la Cruz as party chairman and eight other central committee members, said Stephen Paduano alias Carapali Lualhati, commander of the group’s armed component, the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade.
According to Paduano, the RPM-P is now chaired by Fidel Nava.
Paduano’s supposed expulsion from the RPM-P, particularly as head of the RPA-ABB, was also announced last week by De la Cruz.
Paduano refused to give details on the identity of the new RPM-P head for “security reasons.”
He said he remained party vice chairman and national commander of the RPA-ABB.
De la Cruz earlier announced that Paduano and two others top party leaders — Veronica Tabara, RPM-P secretary general, and Ariel Sabandar, head of the party’s Mindanao command — were expelled from the movement in April during a party plenum.
But the three said De la Cruz could not expel them through a plenum, and that the majority of the party’s members remained with their group. The only legitimate way to expel leaders of the party would be through a party congress, the three said.
Paduano, in a statement on Wednesday, said the whole leadership of the RPA-ABB attended the RPM-P congress.
The RPM-P and RPA-ABB were formed by rebels who broke away from the mainstream Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army in 1997 due to ideological differences.
However, although the RPM-P appears to have formalized another split, both factions continue to use the same party name.
De la Cruz, in a telephone interview, insisted that the party congress held in Negros Occidental was illegal as only the central committee could convene one. He also said he remained chairman of the RPM-P.
“As long as they are using the name of the RPM-P, they are supposed to act in accordance with the constitution and other established rules in the processes of the RPM-P. If not, all their actions are illegal and fake and therefore null and void,” De la Cruz said.
But Paduano said the majority of the RPM-P/RPA-ABB members from around the country called for the congress and sent their elected representatives. At the congress, they declared a total loss of confidence in De la Cruz and his cohorts.
He said they called De la Cruz a fake chairman because he was expelled and had only a small number of followers from Luzon.
Sources in the RPM-P said the just concluded congress where Nava was named chairman would hopefully put to rest the internal leadership crisis within the rebel faction and help the government recognize the legitimate representatives of the party that it has an existing peace agreement with.
Tabara and Paduano represent the RPM-P in the Joint Enforcement Monitoring Committee with the government that has been tasked with ensuring compliance with the peace agreement they signed in 2000.