I don’t personally know the former priest Rustico “Tikoy” Tan. I only saw him once when he was still a practicing priest in the ’80s, and we didn’t even talk much. But I remember him for surfacing as one of the National Democratic Front (NDF) negotiatiors during the peace talks with the government of then president Corazon Aquino in the late 1986 and early 1987. Those were heady days for the revolutionary movement in Cebu and was adjudged a mistake by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) years later, as it exposed many of its local cadres.
A headline on the arrest in a Cebu newspaper labeled Tan as a New People’s Army (NPA) member, something that I don’t think he was. In the revolutionary movement, there is a difference between armed elements and organizers. Tan is known to be have been mainly based in the urban areas while Red fighters, save for armed city partisans that are not many, are based in the countryside. I think he is an organizer, not a fighter. Also, I thought all along that Tan had gone back to the mainstream. If he is in his 70s now, then he probably already did so. This seems to ba a case of his past hounding him.
For reporters, it is probably good to note that not all who are in the underground are NPA members. The NPA is the armed wing of the CPP. Its formation is in keeping with the armed struggle that the party is waging against the government. The other CPP cadres are organizers either in the countryside or the urban areas, recruiting to the underground the masses of workers and peasants, youth and students and the middle class and forging alliance work with the national bourgeoisie and rich peasants, and even with enlightened comprador bourgeoisie and landlords. Others are engaged in forging alliances with politicians.–November 14, 2017