President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines confirmed on Sunday (20 November), the capture of the country's Communist Party leader, Jose Maria Sison.
CU PHILIPPINES FLAG PAN DOWN SV MALACANANG PALACE.
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Background: President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines confirmed on Sunday (20 November), the capture of the country's Communist Party leader, Jose Maria Sison.
Because the Communist Party is banned in the Philippines, government authorities had designated Sison as one of their most wanted men. The military had been hunting for Sison, a former university teacher, since 1968.
Sison regularly issued statements broadcast by a clandestine radio in southern China, calling on people to unite against the government of President Marcos. His capture is a serious blow to the Communist movement which has scattered guerilla units in various parts of the country.
President Marcos announced the arrest at a hastily called televised press conference at the Malacanang Palace. (SEQ 1)
He said both Sison and his wife were taken without any struggle in a house in the northwest of the country, following a prolonged intelligence and surveillance operation.
He denied allegations that Sison had been tortured.
The President said his capture meant the Communist Party had now lost 16 of its first line central committee. These included five killed and fifteen captured.
He said the Communist Party maintained it has three thousand armed men around the country and many reserved, but said the Philippines armed forces believed they had only half this number.
The President then accused the Communists of having links with segments of the Roman Catholic Church. He said that a car captured along with Sison was registered in the name of the Carmelite Fathers an order of the country's dominant Roman Catholic Church.
He said this was one of the many leads now being checked, and indicated that more arrests would follow soon. (SEQ 2)