Buencamino does political affairs analysis for Action for Economic Reforms (AER). This paper was published in the newspaper Today, 20 August 2004 edition, page 9.

“The older I grow, the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.” -H. L. Mencken

Dear Joma,

I’m writing you this letter because I read your statement titled, “BUSH

There, you accused President Bush of sabotaging the peace negotiations
because neither you nor your organizations were de-listed from the
terrorist list of the US State Department and the Office of Foreign
Assets Control (OFAC) of the Treasury Department. You deduced that “The
Bush regime is thereby stirring up the civil war between the GRP and
the people’s democratic government (PDG) represented by the NDFP.”

So you issued a call to arms. “It is their duty [the Filipino people
and revolutionary forces] to fight back and liberate themselves from US
imperialism and its die-hard puppets.”

Forgive me for asking but if you already knew that Bush listed you as a
terrorist in order to “stir up the civil war,” why then did you do
exactly what Bush wanted you to do, declare war on “US imperialism and
its die-hard puppets” and “stir up the civil war?” ‘Di ba parang nagpa-
uto ka?

Or maybe you’re just blind with fury because the US Treasury Department
froze the advance royalty payment for your book. You argued, “This
royalty payment has absolutely nothing to do with terrorism. It is paid
in accordance with a pre-2002 contract which is perfectly legal.”

And you devoted more than 200 words right in the middle of your
communiqué just to show how persecuted you are. However, a better
approach might have been to remind the State Department that you traded
your M16 for a suit a long time ago and your main concern these days is
cross-town traffic—not cross-fires.

I understand you have to “let it all hang out,” but it doesn’t look
good when you go into a lengthy discourse about your personal problems
and then say “Back to the question of GRP-NDFP peace negotiations,”
followed by a brief 80-word summary of why the peace talks should be
postponed until the GRP meets its obligations under the Oslo I and Oslo
II Statements.

In the paragraphs leading up to the frozen royalty story, you delivered
an appeal that reveals more than it should. You said, “I fight by
exposing the injustices done to me and calling on the people to support
my cause,” thus making casus belli out of your personal problems.

Frankly, you reminded me of Bush who exclaimed, “He tried to kill my
dad,” in the middle of a serious speech outlining his reasons for
toppling Saddam.

Once upon a time you called yourself Amado Guerrero, the Beloved
Warrior, and led your troops in a battle royale against the GRP. Now,
you hire American lawyers to wage royalty battles against the US

Joma, revolutionaries and rock stars don’t age well. Those who live too
long end up bloated like Elvis or depraved like Mao. Those who die
young become heroes.

It’s too late for you to die a young hero and it would be unseemly,
though tempting, for you to follow Mao’s example and trade your “Little
Red Book” for a private little red house. And so your only option is a
total “make-over.”

In this regard, you should stop using laborious phrases like “US
imperialism and its die-hard puppets.” They date you because no one
talks that way anymore. If you were to appear in a televised interview,
subtitles would be needed.

Joma, you are a revolutionary. Fire your lawyers, wear the terrorist
listing as a badge of honor and a reminder that at least someone still
takes you seriously. At your age, you have to learn to be more
appreciative of life’s blessings.

Sincerely yours,

Manuel Buencamino
Former “guerilla”, now Chief Image Consultant to Aging Rebs

P.S. The GRP has a reputation for caving in to “terrorist demands,” so
you might actually be negotiating from a “position of strength” if you
wear the terrorist badge to you next round of negotiations.