The Leftist Who Changed His Mind

(This is inspired by a true story, embellished a bit for drama.) Charlie, who came from a wealthy sugar family from Negros, became a radical activist as a student in a prestigious university. He always joined street rallies and eventually became a respected officer in the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). He specialized in propaganda and mixed freely with the New People’s Army (NPA), the rebel army of the party. But something happened which changed Charlie completely.

eastwind journals, June 27, 2022 (archives tr271)

By Bernie V. Lopez,

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He would stay for weeks in the mountain hideouts of the NPA and teach new young recruits about communist ideology. He was a good teacher and had a charisma among the new recruits who adored his simple ways and warm heart. They could feel the fire in his veins, but he was always gentle and soft-spoken, not even carrying a gun. He was all brains, no bullets.

After a few years in the mountains, he was identified by military intelligence through deep-penetration agents (DPAs) who infiltrated the rebel ranks. He was marked as a target. When he discovered this, his survival instincts took over. He decided to lay low for a while, and teach in a local provincial college. He became a respected professor and forgot all about communist propaganda. But he could not help showing his leftist side to students. It just came out of him in anger when he saw the corrupt local government or abusive soldiers.

After Martial Law, he was finally caught by the military and jailed with criminal elements. For a guy who had formerly a silver spoon in his mouth, it was easy for him to leave the comfort zone of his wealthy home because he was an idealist with strong convictions. The shift from a plush home with maids to a mountain hideout with not even a real toilet around was easy.

But jail was a different thing. To be mixed with criminal elements was a trauma for him. He was casually raped by toughies. At the verge of a nervous breakdown, in total despair, he was rescued by a former classmate in the university with influence in Malacanang.

When he got out, he was a different man. He was hired as a manager for a large banana plantation. This was when I visited him. I noticed a big change in him. But the fire in him was not gone. I did not know about his jail trauma until much later.

He was excited to take me around the plantation. I rode with him in his motorbike at 6 am. It took us about two hours to make a complete round of the plantation. Often, we would stop and he would talk to his workers (conversations reconstructed).

WORKER NO. 1 – Boss, I got a problem. My little boy is very sick.

Instantly, without a word, Charlie took out his thick wad of bills and give him a big lump. The guy was almost in tears. At the next stop, we heard a husband and wife screaming at each other. He barged in. The wife had a bloody mouth.

WORKER NO. 2 – Boss Charlie, Elsa here has been seeing another guy.

Charlie put an arm around him. They talked privately. Then, Charlie talked to Elsa privately.

CHARLIE – I can see, you two still love each other. I am firing your boyfriend tomorrow, Elsa. Is that alright?

ELSA – Yes sir. Thank you, sir.

Instantly, Charlie saved their marriage with one casual stroke. At every turn, I could see how Charlie managed the plantation with a heart, being a financial messiah and a marriage counselor all at once. He gave instructions to a boy how to extricate a baby cow from a barbed wire fence. Over a decadent breakfast, we talked.

ME – I can see, you have resurrected.

CHARLIE – I am very happy helping my workers. I am their godfather.

He never went back to the CPP or the NPA. After two years, I heard that Charlie passed away. The Lord was kind to a gentle soul like Charlie and fashioned his destiny to help others.

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Author’s Credentials. Blogger – ex-Columnist (Inquirer) – Healing Ministry – ex-Professor (Ateneo University) – Documentary Producer-Director (freelance, ex-ABS-CBN, ex-TVS Tokyo) – ex-Broadcaster (Radio Veritas) – Facebook “Bernie V. Lopez Eastwind” / Pages “Eastwind Journeys and Journals” and “Mary Queen of Peace”.


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