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Widow of NPA chief Kintanar speaks out: ‘Yes, I filed case against Joma’

Newsbreak: The widow of slain New People’s Army (NPA) chief Romulo Kintanar today admitted to Newsbreak that she was the one who filed the case against alleged communist chief Jose Ma. Sison in Utrecht, which was the basis for the latter’s arrest last August 28. “Yes, I filed a case [against Sison]," Gloria "Joy" Kintanar said in a text message to Newsbreak. “I might be called to testify [in Utrecht], and that’s when I will give my statement," she added. She said she only had three wishes regarding the case: “I hope Joma is given due process, that the investigation will let the truth out, and that justice will be served as far as Rolly’s death is concerned." The case was filed both by Mrs. Kintanar and Veronica "Inca" Tabara, the wife of another slain communist leader, Arturo Tabara. Both widows previously filed affidavits with the Department of Justice last year pointing to Sison as the mastermind behind the separate killings. Apparently, they likewise pursued the case with the Dutch Embassy. Mrs. Kintanar did not disclose details of the case, but a source close to her told Newsbreak that she did this very quietly because didn’t want it to be exploited by the government. “She merely wanted justice for RK [Kintanar]," the source said. “But she was careful about not being used by the state." Kintanar was gunned down by his ex-comrades inside a Japanese restaurant in Quezon City in January 2003. The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) claimed responsibility for the murder, accusing Kintanar of being a military agent. Kintanar was commander of the NPA in the 1980s to the early 1990s, shortly before the party split that put him on the side of the “rejectionists," or those opposed to Sison’s leadership. In September 2004, a communist hit squad gunned down Tabara and his companion Stephen Ong outside a mall in Quezon City. Tabara was also part of the rejectionist faction; he was once Party head of the Visayas region. Sources said that Tabara’s wife, Veronica, is likely to provide crucial information that could pin down Sison in court. Veronica, after all, once served as a member of the central committee of the CPP until the bitter split. Kintanar and Tabara had pushed for a re-thinking of the Maoist strategy of seizing power by encircling the cities from the countryside. Under Kintanar, the NPA launched massive strikes in the urban areas and expanded the army—an act that Sison branded as a form of “adventurism." In the early 1990s, Sison issued a party directive calling on comrades to “reaffirm" the basic principles of the Maoist party. The document triggered a wave of counter-arguments by Party leaders, notably Filemon “Popoy" Lagman, who then headed the Party’s Manila-Rizal Regional Party Committee. Lagman was the first regional head to break away from the Party; he was killed in 2001. Sison and the CPP fought back and called the opposition leaders government agents. In an official statement on Sison’s arrest, the Dutch ministry said that the alleged communist leader was arrested by the International Crime Investigation Team of the Dutch National Criminal Investigation Department to face “criminal charges for his involvement in assassinations that took place in the Philippines." The statement said: “The communist leader was suspected of giving orders, from the Netherlands, to murder his former political associates in the Philippines, Romulo Kintanar and Arturo Tabara." Sison’s allies have condemned his arrest. Bayan Muna officials said they suspect that the government had a hand in it.