It’s protective custody, stupid

Man does not control his own fate. The women in his life do that for him. – Groucho Marx

Jose Maria Sison, the Grand Poobah of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the National Democratic Front, the New People’s Army (NPA), the partylist groups and anything else you can shake a hammer and sickle at, insists that captured New Peoples Army Southern Tagalog commander, Tirso “Ka Bart” Alcantara, should be released from military custody immediately because he is covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

“Ka Bart is a holder of Document of Identification (DI) under an assumed name under JASIG. He is a duly authorized person entitled to the guarantees of JASIG for having publicly participated in activities necessary and important to the peace process, such as supervising the release of military prisoners in the custody of the NPA and conducting peace consultations and peace meetings with the revolutionary forces and the people.”

Ka Bart was captured, after a brief shoot-out, while he was conducting a nocturnal peace consultation and peace meeting, an activity necessary and important to the peace process, with a former communist rebel who is married to Eulogio Castillo of the Morong 43, that group of well-meaning rural health workers who were mistaken for rebels by government security forces because they were holding a healthcare seminar in a house full of explosive devices and instruction manuals on how to use them. What were those policemen and soldiers thinking, right?

The military made it very clear that Ka Bart was not caught with his pants down even though he was shot in the buttocks. They added that Ka Bart is recuperating very well and should be on his feet again very soon barring any unforeseen problems that may arise should his wife and his nocturnal consultant run into each other at the hospital. But rest assured, the military said, visits to Ka Bart’s hospital room will be worked out with military precision.

JASIG is a “get out of jail” card issued by the government to anyone certified by the communist party leadership as peace consultants. Andal Ampatuan Jr. might want to look into getting accreditation from Sison through NPA tax collectors assigned to Mindanao. But I digress. I was pointing out that although JASIG is a safe-conduct pass for brigands it does not guarantee safety and immunity from the wrath of a cheated wife or a cuckold. Thus, the military is keeping Ka Bart under custody for his own safety and not to sabotage the forthcoming peace talks as the other native communist Grand Poobah, Luis Jalandoni, mistakenly claims.

“He was arrested because he was visiting his lover,” said the military’s spokesman Brig Gen Jose Mabanta. “This means the members of the underground, just like many normal human beings, have their own share of personal problems.”

The military, ironically, understands Marx better than those two Marxists, Jalandoni and Sison. Read again the quotation at the top of the page.


Photo credit: Joma Sison via his website.

Manuel Buencamino

Buencamino was a weekly columnist for Today and Business Mirror. He has also written articles in other publications like Malaya, Newsbreak, "Yellow Pad" in Business World, and "Talk of the Town" in the Inquirer. He is currently with Interaksyon, the news site of TV5. MB blogged for Filipino Voices, blogs for ProPinoy and maintains a blog, Uniffors.com. Game-changers for him, as far as music goes, are Monk, Miles, Jimi, and Santana.