Communist rebels in the Philippines have honored a Catholic priest-turned-rebel leader who played a key role in the resumption of peace negotiations between the government and the insurgents.
The rebel National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) cited Luis Jalandoni for his “inspiring record of struggles, sacrifices, and contributions to the revolutionary struggle.”
Jalandoni “retired” last year as chief peace negotiator of the rebel group. He had been chairman of the panel in peace talks with the government since 1989.
In 1972, Jalandoni helped organized the underground Christians for National Liberation while he was a priest serving in the central Philippine region of Negros.
In a statement, the NDFP said the former priest acted as “one of the pillars” of the communist movement who helped “unite progressive and revolutionary” Catholic and Protestant church people.
Mariano Orosa, chairman of the executive committee of the NDFP, said Jalandoni’s dedication to the revolution “made him forsake a birthright of landed privilege.”
The then-Father Jalandoni sold a vast area of farmland, which he inherited from his family in the 1960s, and distributed it to landless farmers.
In 1973, he was arrested with former religious nun Coni Ledesma, who later became his wife.
The late Cardinal Jaime Sin of Manila formalized the wedding after they received special dispensation by the Vatican.