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Claim: Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison is still alive.
Why we fact-checked this: The YouTube video bearing the claim has 2,311 views and 189 likes as of writing. Posted on November 13, the video is titled: “Hala! OMG! Si Joma Sison buhay pa! Siya daw ay bayani!” (Omg! Joma Sison is still alive! He is said to be a hero!)
Its thumbnail bore the text: “Buhay pa si Joma!” (Joma is still alive!)
The bottom line: The title and thumbnail of the YouTube video were merely clickbait. Sison died at the age of 83 on December 16, 2022, in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The video narrator himself acknowledged Sison’s death, even giving a brief explanation of Sison’s life.
Exiled leader: A key leader in the longest-running communist insurgency in Asia, Sison lived in the Netherlands as a political refugee since 1987. He was among the political prisoners released by the Corazon Aquino administration in 1986, after the EDSA People Power Revolution that ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
In 2016, the communist rebel leader had broached the possibility of coming home to the Philippines under the administration of Rodrigo Duterte, but peace talks collapsed. The CPP, meanwhile, said that the party and the revolutionary movement would still go on despite its founder’s passing. (READ: Joma Sison’s last message to his comrades revealed)
Communist Party: Established on December 26, 1968, the CPP follows Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as its “guide to action,” according to its constitution. For more than half a decade, the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, have courted controversy and criticism. In the 1980s, a brutal internal purge resulted in the deaths of numerous young members, and the 1990s saw a bitter split that created factions in the communist movement.
The CPP has tried to engage in peace negotiations with the Philippine government over several administrations, but these have been unsuccessful. – Andrei Santos/Rappler.com
Andrei Santos is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.
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