Thursday, January 14, 2010


He was a great lumbering hulk of a man, blessed or cursed (depending on how you would look at it) with the great physical bulk genetically common to my mother's side of the extended Murillo clan. But he carried his not inconsiderable stoutness with grace, aplomb and good humor convincing many that it was a manifestation of good health and good living rather than the result of a privileged and dissolute lifestyle.

He also had that rogue gene not uncommon within my mother's clan that gifted him with the fine Caucasian features, the hazel-brown eyes and the brown-black hair that many would ascribed to the supposed influence of distant Spanish forbears. That plus his physique gave him the air of a plump, good-natured and mischievous child with the carefree, roguish twinkle in the eyes despite the fact that he was already past middle age and approaching 60 years of age.

That he was liked by the many who he came into contact with was a fact for he was essentially a likable man. He cultivated friends like a game fowl breeder raised champion cocks and had an affable, extroverted nature which enabled him to enjoy a wide circle of friends, all of whom held him in great esteem and who remember him with fondness.

He was not perfect and had his faults though like the rest of us. He could be pushy, domineering and even occasionally guileful but it was easy to forgive him for his excesses because deep inside his heart was as big as his body and his imperfections were trivial compared to his virtues particularly his capacity to empathize and sympathize with others.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Lost Cause

The Communist Party of the Philippines celebrated its 41st founding anniversary last December 26 and in northeastern Mindanao, local communist cadres commemorated the event in a day-long ceremony in an undisclosed location said to be just a kilometer or so from the national highway in Marihatag town which is just a little over 40 kilometers north of Lianga.

Jorge Madlos, better known as Ka Oris and officially the spokesman for National Democratic Front in Mindanao, outlined the revolutionary movement's optimistic assessment of its current status and its plans for intensifying the war in the next five years. The target, Madlos said, is to advance its conflict with the government to the next level which is supposedly the strategic stalemate stage wherein the communist forces will have attained numerical and tactical parity with the Philippine armed forces. According to NDF thinking, this strategic stalemate level will only be in preparation for the next crucial stage which will be the strategic offensive level where the revolutionary forces will have achieved the capacity to conduct large scale military offensives against an already weakened and increasingly defense-oriented national government.

Ka Oris also reported during the anniversary celebration that the New People's Army (the CPP'S military wing), contrary to government claims that the NPA is a force in decline and that its number of armed partisans has shrunk to less than 6000 at the end of last year, has actually been growing at a healthy 5 percent a year although he has declined to give the actual figures even for just the number of rebel forces in the Mindanao area alone. The target, he claims, is to train and equip one platoon of armed fighters for every town in the country within the next five years for the movement to be able to advance to the next stage of their prolonged and protracted war with the Philippine government.