VIEW FROM CALUMPANG: Diego Cagahastian

Alexandrea's story

Apr 7, 2023, 12:45 AM
Diego S. Cagahastian

Diego S. Cagahastian


IN LUCENA City two weeks before the 54th anniversary of the New People's Army (NPA), this observer from Calumpang noted that the Lucena City Regional Trial Court (RTC) convicted Red fighter--not just youth activist--Alexandrea Pacalda guilty of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

In his decision, Judge Salvador Villarosa ruled that Pacalda is guilty of violating the “Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.” Villarosa meted eight to 10 years jail term on Pacalda.

The judge also found Pacalda guilty of violating the Law on Explosives, and imposed the penalty of reclusion perpetua (20 to 40 years imprisonment).

Pacalda was cornered by members of patrolling Army soldiers in Barangay Magsaysay in General Luna, Quezon on Sept. 14, 2019, after she was allegedly left behind by her NPA comrades who were able to escape. The soldiers reportedly found her with a .38 revolver and a hand grenade.

The human rights group Karapatan insisted that Pacalda was a campus journalist and a member of Gabriela, a "legal" activist women's group that is "allegedly" a front organization of the Communist Party. (Do not dare dispute this, Gabriela, because I hosted many meetings among Nelia Sancho, Mila Aguilar and sometimes with Bobi Malay during the early years of Gabriela. As a top entertainment columnist then, I was allowed to book a room for free at the hotel of Mother Lily's in-laws on Rizal Ave. where we held our meetings. It was there where Nelia administered my entry into the Party as a candidate member, along with Malaya editor-in-chief Joy de los Reyes, my ka-batch, who was then with the Daily Express. And guess who stood as witness? A young Joey Nolasco from Business Day, who would later be executive editor of the Inquirer.)

The military at Solcom in Camp Nakar presented pictures and video of Alexandrea Pacalda holding a rifle in the company of alleged NPA rebels in a guerrilla camp. Gabriela-Southern Tagalog vowed it would continue the struggle for Pacalda’s freedom.

What is interesting in Pacalda's story is that the government's Philippine News Agency (PNA) which is under the News and Information Bureau (NIB) which is under the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) and the Philippine Daily Inquirer have been identifying Pacalda as just a young activist who probably got lost in the hills of General Luna, Quezon. They bought the Gabriela and Karapatan story that Alexandrea Pacalda is just an activist, and not an NPA element, a part of its fighting force.

The handling of Alexandrea's story in the PNA, the Inquirer, Rappler, the NUJP (of which I was a founding officer, with former NPC President Tony Nieva), the CEGP and other media organizations proves that like in the days of martial law and in the time of Cory, the CPPs media operatives are very much active in duplicity game.

Colonel Dennis Cana, public information officer of the Armed Forces Southern Luzon Command (Solcom), said the "Command is saddened that another life of our youth is destroyed, victimized by the communist terrorists with their deception and duplicitous modus operandi.”

The View from Calumpang says:

After 54 years of the CPP dream that has become the NPA nightmare, the killings and violence continue to this day, even as Joma Sison has died along with other leaders of the movement, and many have retired and moved on with their lives after decades of struggle with no end in sight.

The masses of the Filipino people who they vowed to serve continue to ask the NPA: When will the killings end?


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