This story was also published on GMA News.

UTRECHT, The Netherlands – The recent arrest of the Tiamzon couple will not create a vacuum within the revolutionary movement, according to Jose Maria Sison, the self-exiled founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

In a recent interview, Sison said the movement has been following a system for more than 40 years that makes succession automatic once a leader is arrested.

“There cannot be [a vacuum], there’s a system of succession, this is a system that has been growing for the last 45 years. It says take bench when someone’s out. And let’s not forget that there are more members of the movement now compared to when I was arrested. There are a lot of really good ones too,” he said without mentioning any names.

Authorities last week arrested Benito Tiamzon and his wife Wilma Austria in Cebu. The two are political consultants of the communist-led National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

In the interview, Sison recalled his arrest in 1977 as a proof of this systematic succession. “When I was arrested in 1977, I was replaced within 24 hours,” he recounted.

Sison added that this system is a lesson from what he calls the historic arrest of Emilio Aguinaldo.

“The revolutionary movement has learned from Aguinaldo’s arrest. Once a top ranking leader is caught, they will never let him go. To not prejudice the movement in case the arrested leader shares the movement’s secrets, the movement uses this succession as protection of its ranks. The arrested leader is automatically out of position,” he explained.

The CPP’s armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), will celebrate its 45th anniversary on Saturday, March 29. Sison said there are no plans of a retaliation from the movement’s side on the day but expects a 21-gun salute for the Tiamzon couple. #