To the one who got away (hopefully soon from the hands of the enemy)

This article is available in Bisaya


Dear Bayot,

Until now, I still laugh over that term of endearment that comrades have for you. It really intrigued me that on our first meet-cute, I seriously approached and asked you whether you were gay or not. I even told you as a disclaimer, “I will be happy and be proud of you if you were.”

But even though it turned out you were straight, I didn’t feel awkward towards you because I later knew you as someone who didn’t look down on women, especially the LGBTQ community. As a bisexual myself, it was a big thing for me because you didn’t make me feel like there was something “wrong” with me or that I had something to prove. You wholeheartedly accepted who or what I was.

In the time we spent together until our feelings for each other developed, we weren’t constrained by feudal or bourgeoise biases of what a relationship was. We tried to better ourselves and our relationship. It wasn’t just one person who decided or spoke when arguments or contradictions arose. We did criticism and self-criticism in order to become better individuals and revolutionaries. In short, we didn’t see our relationship as separate from the struggle.

Do you remember the first time we had a long talk about my struggles with work and responsibilities? I felt you really were a good listener and a good adviser. I was happy that you were there through my ups and downs and of course, our relationship became stronger because of the constant exchange of knowledge and good practice.

We taught each other various things: from kindling a fire, arranging personal belongings, taking a bath in the shortest time possible, trekking over waterfalls using ropes, to mastering terrain, making maps, waking up early, taking care of our weapons and organizing and creatively coming up with methods to further develop our political tasks for Red fighters and the masses. From practical things to sharpening our work styles and capacities, we gradually became quite the dynamic duo.

It still amuses me to think of that one time you consulted me for an activity in order to engage the comrades. Your laughter boomed across the camp when I deadpanned, “I think we should do a sack race.” Not to mention your way of teaching me Bisaya which sometimes irked me because you live-edited every single wrong word I uttered, making me lose my momentum and train of thought.

In the heat of the enemy’s intense attack and alongside rectifying our errors and erroneous styles and methods, our relationship evolved. We faced sacrifices and difficulties in carrying out our principal tasks, from simple things like treks that lasted until early hours in the morning, heavy backpacks or setting up camp to complicated ones like agonizing over how to embolden and mobilize the masses, weighing security risks and carrying out fierce political work amid heavy deployment of enemy forces.

Because we were conscious of prioritizing our tasks, there were times when we were assigned to different units. I wasn’t wholly prepared for them, but I knew there were realities that confronted and challenged each relationship. I am aware that I am neither the first nor the last comrade to experience being apart from his or her partner because one of them fell into the hands of the enemy. I couldn’t wrap my head around how I felt when the comrades told me that you were wounded during one battle and been taken prisoner by the enemy.

The comrade’s support and constant consolidation meant a lot to me, even as I strove to cope and perform my duties amidst worrying about how you were. I even joked that we might be able to help you escape, just like what Tokyo did for Rio or how Professor saved Lisbon. I’m thinking by now you won’t begrudge those little Money Heist spoilers.

A few months later, the enemy’s desperation to defeat the movement heightened and it conscripted you in its black propaganda campaign. It’s hard to swallow how the NTF-ELCAC made you an instrument to peddle their lies about the primary interests of the people, such as those farm-to-market roads that in reality only benefit the businesses of big bourgeoise compradors, foreign capitalists, large plantations and mining. They gloss over the real problems confronting the masses like landlessness, barely livable wages, low farmgate prices of farmers’ products, skyrocketing prices of basic commodities and farm inputs and many others. I know that you know that these lies serve nothing other than deodorizing the regime’s fascist and corrupt counterinsurgency campaign and suppressing the resistance of the masses. And you also know that these lies fail because the masses’ will to fight can never be restrained. You were living witness to this truth when you were here.

My forehead creased in confusion when you said in one of those videos that this is not the time for revolution because we don’t have enough strength yet. Doesn’t it make sense to resist more intensely in order to gather up more strength? That the masses can only muster up courage in order to relentlessly stuggle against exploitation if they mobilize in line with the revolution? It’s diametrically opposed to your constant agitation to comrades and the masses to struggle amid the enemy’s intense attacks.

Perhaps it’s just because you’re in their mercy or it’s possible that on some level, you feel you owe them your life. But truth be told, considering how well I know you, even you were unconvinced by the lies you were forced to say.

I believe there’s still time and chance for you to find yourself; the real you who, according to you, only became fully human and part of society when he discovered the road to the revolution.


To the one who got away (hopefully soon from the hands of the enemy)