“Anti-infiltration” purge campaign

Lessons from the Infiltration Incident in the Quezon-Bicol Border

February 1983

Written by: Melito Glor Command, New People’s Army, Communist Party of the Philippines;
Translated by: Veronica Alporha and Patricio N. Abinales;
Published: Alporha, Veronica, and Patricio N. Abinales. “‘Cruelty as Policy’: The Anti-Infiltration Campaign of the Communist Party of the Philippines.” Justice in Translation 3, no. 1 (March 2023). Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin – Madison.;
Source: Justice in Translation 1/2023, March 2023;
Markup: Simoun Magsalin;
Creative Commons: This translation is published under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license, which means users may copy and distribute the material in any medium or format in unadapted form only, for noncommercial purposes only, and only so long as attribution is given to the creator;
Note: See also the Tagalog original “Mga Aral Mula sa Naganap na Impiltrasyon sa Hangganang Quezon-Bikol.”

The Quezon-Bicol border was the target of multiple massive infiltrations from the last quarter of 1979 until the first quarter of 1982. This was the enemy’s most massive, profound, and systematic plot to infiltrate and destroy the Party, the people’s army, and the revolutionary mass organization in the history of the revolution in the region.

This was incomparable to what happened in 1976 when an active agent got himself into an armed propaganda team and in the waves of arrests in 1977.

This widespread infiltration happened when our people’s war shifted towards the advanced sub-stage of the strategic defensive. The enemy wanted to suppress the rapid advance of the armed struggle of the revolutionary mass movement in the region. In the past, the state could not impede our advance through intense operations and military campaigns. They used different tactics to train to attain their evil aims. It is the delirious ambition of the US-Marcos dictatorship to end the Party, the people’s army, and the revolutionary mass movement through fierce military attacks and infiltration among the ranks of the revolution.

We cannot separate this infiltration issue from the extensive and intense counter-insurgency operations the enemy is conducting on the Quezon-Bicol border. This was confirmed by captured spies who moved into the region as part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ 16th and 45th Infantry Battalion. This is the ongoing tactic of the fierce military operations that are part of the counter-insurgency campaign. The enemy had set up a vast network of paid infiltrators who wormed into basic Party cells at the barrio (village) level, in two committees at the section level and one committee at the district level. The enemy has also sent paid agents to infiltrate the New People’s Army (NPA) from the armed propaganda units to the guerilla platoons and companies at the front and district levels. They also reached the technical staff at the field and admitted another agent to the technical staff of the Party in the neighboring region.

Apart from the assassination of the region’s leading Party cadres and NPA commanders, the spies also sabotaged our political work, the purpose of which was to gather intelligence information about Party movements, NPA operations, and activities of the revolutionary masses. These become the bases for subsequent military plans.

The Party discovered this plot of the enemy in late 1981. We immediately launched a cleansing campaign for the Party and the people’s army. We were able to promptly stop the operation of these paid agents of the enemies in the Party and the people’s army and punish these felons and confirmed infiltrators.

Despite breaking this network of infiltrators in the region, we must also recognize that a multitude of them have successfully joined our ranks. They have endangered our decade-long effort to establish and move the armed struggle of the revolutionary masses. If the enemy succeeded, it would retake years of work before we could get back to where we started.

Critical lessons must be learned from this event. This document will try to tell the story of what happened, starting with how the enemy planned the infiltration until the plot’s demolition. It will show how the enemy took advantage of the Party’s weaknesses, limitations and mistakes. It will also lay out the primary lessons we learned from arresting, imprisoning, interrogating, and punishing the ring leaders, or brains, behind this infiltration operation.

The entire Party organization and the people’s army must learn from this document. We cannot allow a repeat of what happened just because we did not have any systematic knowledge of how the enemy had used infiltration to destroy us and thus was able to be all over the place, lording it over with flourish and braggadocio for an extended period. Meanwhile, on many occasions, they were able to sabotage operations crudely and openly.

The Process of Building a Network of Infiltrators inside the Organization

We will present here the history of the infiltration program based on a series of events. We culled this from the interrogation of punished enemy agents.

In 1978, the enemy calculated that the New People’s Army would be able to expand to the lowlands of Ragay, Camarines Sur. They prepared for this immediately. In June 1979, the Intelligence Services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) launched a team campaign covering the entire Quezon-Bicol region. They named the campaign “Crush the Philippine Revolution (“Lipulin ang Rebolusyonaryong Pilipino”).1 An ISAFP campaign team was assigned in Camarines Sur (Code Name: Operation Libogs) and another in Quezon del Gallego.2 The campaign leader was Colonel Nicasio Cordova.

Below is the organizational structure of the campaign:

Around this time, the Party was occupied with reorganizing after the troubles caused by Apolinario and the “fire” that affected the regional center in 1977.3 It had launched this rectification movement to correct the mistaken ideas being spread by Apolinario. Confronted also with a very narrow area of operations, the Party called for a fast expansion. Everyone, even the mass activists from the barrios (villages), responded to the Party’s appeal. The enemy could exploit this “subjective desire” of the Party to expand fast and the limitations of the mass activists and sneak in several paid enemy agents inside the revolutionary movement.

From 1977 to 1980, the enemy recruited people from the barrios and provided them with Army training. The enemy paid them wages and promised they would be made regular soldiers with appropriate ranks if they could accomplish their mission. The training was followed by a briefing, after which they were sent back to their barrios to prepare for the expansion of the NPA. Majority of these recruits were those with criminal records, the village black sheep, former military trainees, and those who had relatives or friends in the reactionary military.

Once the revolutionary movement reached the barrios where the infiltrators were assigned, the latter actively executed their con. The enemy was able to exploit the rapid expansion achieved by mass activists in the neighboring barrios. By the end of 1981, 10 infiltrators became heads of the party branch in their respective barrios, while six had become members of the barrio organizing committees before going full-time. Meanwhile, three infiltrators could sneak in without joining any mass organization. In the middle of the 1980s, three infiltrators were operating full-time as part of the cadre corps (Pangkat ng Kadre). They were able to expand their network in barrios in the area. By the end of 1981, 26 had infiltrated the Party Branch in the locality and among the ranks of cadres.

They would use the recommendations of the Party branch, which then came to be able to operate as fulltime members of NPA and Party units. They also used the recommendations from fellow infiltrators who came ahead of them. For them to be able to rise to the ranks, many of them, without providing any evidence, used the excuse that the military was onto them. Their tactic included claiming that the military had trapped them in their homes, that they were tagged as NPA commanders, or that they desired to be close and take care of senior cadres to cement their commitment to the revolutionary movement as true revolutionaries.

In the first quarter of 1982, two infiltrators had become members of two section committees and one district committee. They also set up several armed propaganda units (sandatahang yunit pampropaganda) and two full-time guerilla units. Some of these infiltrators were able to get themselves assigned at the district level. They also started to set up and spread their networks until they were discovered. Apart from what happened in the northern CS, other military intelligence services like the NISA, Region-2 and local units of the PC-INP infiltrated our ranks.4 Before the middle of 1982, the BP district’s Party committee discovered two guerrillas who were infiltrators who claimed they were able to “escape” from the hands of the enemy. They were thoroughly briefed by a Captain Rudy Rudolfo of the 232 PC company. A NISA agent from Ragay, a barrio suspected by the military of being a pro-guerrilla community, was transferred and rescued by comrades at the CN and activated again. The 242 PC company made up the “escape” of a former activist, who brought an M-16 rifle to prove his “sincerity” in joining the NPA. The enemy had also managed to deploy infiltrators among workers in the timber industry to monitor the movement of comrades in the area. Even the petty bourgeois in many town centers could not escape the enemy’s plot. Col. Jose Reyes Dasal of the NISA and Lt. Eduardo Claro of the ISAFP were some senior officers who could mingle with our allies. They kept watching the expansion of the revolution among the petty bourgeoisie while monitoring the progress of the infiltration campaign.

The Infiltrator’s Perspective

Infiltration was a necessary step for a wide-ranging military campaign. This major operation was quite expensive for the reactionary armed forces, which is why it was important for the infiltrators’ network as a precondition for initiating the military campaign.

All the infiltrators were given a general orientation of their responsibilities and operating methods. Individual missions were mainly based on which positions they ended up with as infiltrators. The following are the features of this general orientation:

  1. Create a profile of the leading Party cadres of the region, the front, districts, and sections. Get their real name, biographies, and places of origin.
  2. Collect information about the Party members in a barrio, the basic mass organizations, lookouts and couriers in the barrio they were operating, and how the barrio folks sympathized with the revolutionary movement.
  3. Determine the human resources, firepower, commands, military techniques and tactics used, and plans of operation of NPA units.
  4. Gather intelligence on the water and sea routes of the area;
  5. Investigate the status of Party organizing among the students, teachers, and other middle forces in the countryside and the town centers. Find out those who provide for the movement and the kinds of support that they provide.
  6. Try to steal primary Party documents, which can be passed on to the military
  7. Recruit spies among the barrio full-timers.
  8. Report meetings of senior cadres or instances where they are in one place so that the military can plan an attack;
  9. Sabotage activities of the Party and the NPA
  10. Request to be assigned to regular guerilla units and other strategic units or organs.

Most of the infiltrators were “deep penetration agents.” Their modus operandi was not to attack comrades directly but to report them to troops who will then take care of them. This was essential because their mission was to stay inside the revolutionary movement for extended periods. Of course, if the opportunity was there and did not compromise their cover, the agents were given the go-ahead to kill a senior cadre. There were also “active agents” whose mission included eliminating leading cadres. If he saw a chance to do so, he was to kill the cadre and then escape.

NISA had a different strategy. This was to form a separate NPA unit consisting of full-timers the agent had successfully recruited and then engage in criminal acts and sabotage the NPA and the masses. The enemy planned to deploy Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) combat units at the Quezon-Bicol border between January and April 1982. This will signal the infiltrators to leave the area so that the military can effectively destroy the revolutionary forces. Some of them will eliminate leading cadres first before escaping. Those who escaped would be declared rebel returnees, having returned, allegedly, to the fold of the law as military propaganda. Soon, some would return to military training before formally integrating into enemy forces. They would also tip the military to where guerrilla units were concentrated or where NPA meetings were so the enemy could attack them. They would also try to convince specifically targeted Party members and organized masses to surrender as part of their balik-loob campaign. All these will be tactics that the enemy’s psychological operations (say-ops) team will use. Finally, the military would also set up different units of the Integrated Civilian Home Defense Force (IDF) in the municipalities and the barrios.

The enemy had grand plans for the Quezon-Bicol Zone (QBZ). Their enthusiastic ambition was to destroy the Party and the People’s Army in the region.

Establishing the Infiltration Network among the Ranks of Full-Time Cadres and Barrio People

Once inside, the infiltrators began to try to recruit people from the ranks of the cadres and the Red Fighters. They also set up the networks in the barrios where they were operating. These were essential measures for them to be able to engage in espionage and quickly transmit as much information as possible to their coordinators.

They usually recruited members who recently joined the revolutionary movement; those who held a grudge or two against the leadership; those who had family, love, and health problems; and those who had military relatives. They stuck to these people as close as possible and subjected them to intense propaganda to break down their morale. As propaganda, they reminded their recruits of the difficulties they experienced in the revolutionary movement that also resulted in their neglect of their families. They also hinted to these potential recruits that the victory of the national democratic revolution was improbable. They bribed their targets with money, clothes, pants, and watches. They encouraged those they had recruited not to leave the revolutionary movement, with the promise of employment and salary as government agents who would keep a close eye on the movement.

They kept those they managed to deceive close to them, giving them advice and repeated warnings not to reach out to their comrades or be killed if they put their handlers in danger.

The informers they recruited in the barrios were against the revolution, had troubles in the community, and were unenthusiastic in their engagements with comrades. Those potential recruits who refused the military were threatened. The military murdered them and labeled them harmful elements or military informants in the barrio. Each infiltrator had the means of sending back reports. At first, they usually handed these to their first recruits in the form of a “revolutionary letter.” They often asked about the status of “special cadres,” and they sent messages through mail drops of the revolutionary movement. At other times they added one more letter specifically addressed to the military. The primary infiltrator, in turn, had access to a secure post and the enemy’s allies.

After a while, they could lay out a system of “relays” for reports about the barrios they had reached. They recently tried to convince the barrio captains and teachers to act as conduits or couriers. There were even instances where they could directly report to the military by pretending to be visiting their families or getting treatment at the town center. In order that enemy troops would not mistake them for rebels, they agreed to use “passwords” and signals. When Mark’s unit was involved in a military encounter, he kept shouting, “M-14! M-14! M-14!” Comrades noticed the fatigue uniforms that an infiltrator wore, even if this was already long prohibited for the red fighters.

Acts of Sabotage by Infiltrators

The Party could blow the cover of the infiltrators who pretended to be revolutionaries. Let us study their suspicious actions and usual methods to sabotage our revolutionary work.

  1. The infiltrators brazenly violated our class line in the rural areas. They often linked up, directed, and organized the upper ranks of the lumpen in the barrios and relatives of the military. The evil influence of these elements brought about confusion and often led to the destruction of basic mass organizations.
  2. In units under their control, they blocked the directives of the higher organs to launch area-wide propaganda like that of the OP-OD. They did not share revolutionary newspapers and readings with the masses. Just recently, comrades discovered one sack of reading materials hidden under their midst.
  3. The non-progress of their work was evident. Groups influenced by infiltrators often stay in a few houses doing nothing. PAKUM education was applied willy-nilly. Their refusal to solve the problems of the masses and the basic mass organizations was also very evident.
  4. In areas where they were operating, they were thwarting efforts to launch the agrarian revolution, especially in areas where there were big landlords. They deter the collection of the percentage for the people’s army from the contribution of the masses. However, they tried their best to collect percentages from the ranks of small landlords and some professionals even if the masses needed to be sufficiently organized.
  5. They created these conditions to antagonize and alienate the movement from the middle forces. Meanwhile, they immersed the masses in economism. They were able to collect vast amounts of taxes collected from the landlords and businesses, which they did not report nor remit to the comrades
  6. The infiltrators sabotaged the NPA’s military plans. They recommended fellow informers with military experience to be part of an intelligence network for military operations. This was the reason why all the plans of our guerillas against the enemy failed. There were times when leading NPA units were in danger of enemy attacks.
  7. One of their bloody crimes was to tip the military about the movement of an armed partisan unit which led to the death of one fighter. They would be held responsible for the failed enemy siege on some guerrilla units, and some of the lessons comrades culled from these [experiences]. They were also responsible for the mass arrests and murder of key members of the masses in the barrios they stayed in.
  8. The infiltrators also stole sensitive letters. Sometimes they would read these reports before passing these to comrade addresses.
  9. They liked to act individually and did not have a sense of collective unity. They were highly liberal and did not do well during criticism-self-criticism. They were loose with security protocols and often violated the discipline and rules of the people’s army.

Steps the Party took to Correct Security Problems

The Party discovered this evil plot of the enemy against the revolutionary movement at the Quezon-Bicol border in the late quarter of 1981. It all began when an “activist” from the middle forces who were part of a planned district legal organization slipped into revealing that he was an ISAFP audience. Cadre advisers learned of this but did not treat this as necessary.

But once the front’s leading organ heard of this, it immediately launched an investigation and acquired his personal and political record. It confirmed that the activist was indeed a confirmed ISAFP member who wanted to infiltrate this legal organization we were forming. However, the inquiry still took a couple of months before the decision was made to arrest and interrogate him. We set up a special group consisting of the most responsible cadres from the front and the district to pursue the investigation further. No critical information was acquired save for his insistence that comrades knew he was joining ISAFP to turn himself into a double agent.

The group then turned its attention to the comrades whom “he asked permission from” to join the ISAFP and other full-time cadres who became close to him. Two more infiltrators were discovered and readily punished, but two managed to escape and were now openly aiding the enemy.

The Party at the Quezon-Bicol Border thought that the infiltration scheme was broken with their discovery. However, comrades continued to investigate closely and monitor the movement of full-time cadres and guerrillas from where the exposed infiltrators operated. At the same time, the Party also set up the “Task Force Ragay Aid” to attack military units where one of the escaped infiltrators was playing a leading role. A manifesto was distributed to full-time cadres and those operating in the barrios, informing them of the Party’s success in foiling the plots of the enemies to destroy the movement in their place by infiltrating their ranks. We also called on those who collaborated with them to surrender, telling them we had already eliminated the masterminds. Of course, no one approached us to surrender.

Last February 1982, we were able to arrest one more enemy agent operating in the youth-student groups in one district. Thanks to our patience and effective interrogation, he gave away the name of a key infiltrator who was part of a front guerrilla unit. This key infiltrator gave away the largest network of the region’s infiltrators. These incidents showed us that the assumption that the infiltration network was demolished was subjective. While we were able to kill Lt. Eddie Claro (Marsha) and several of his companions, we realized that there remained many ringleaders operating inside who must be dealt with before we can say we destroyed the network. We had to set up background investigations (BI) or security checks (SC) for every case of infiltration discovered among full-timers and comrades in the barrio, especially for those who were determined, through various means, opportunities, and motives to be engaged with exposed infiltrators. It would be helpful for us to be extra vigilant, patient, and critical while maneuvering around our all-sided revolutionary action rather than being complacent and simply relying on our intuition. In these issues, let us all be reminded that the security of the Party, the New People’s Army, and the revolutionary masses is paramount and that we vowed to protect their well-being, even if it calls for offering our lives.

Due to the depth and spread of the infiltration, as shared with us by the interrogated spies, the higher organ laid out the steps needed to improve the region’s security. These were the following steps:

  1. Set up special investigation teams at the district level to pursue a sustained, in-depth, and extensive effort to destroy the infiltration. We continue to pursue the struggle stridently.
  2. Conduct cleansing operations in the ranks of the full-time cadres of the Party and the New People’s Army.
  3. Assess the results of cleansing spies among the full-timers and unifying the entire Party membership and the NPA.
  4. Undertake the cleansing of spies in the ranks of

comrades and the masses in the barrios

  1. Assess and implement the steps to destroy the infiltration, its documentation, and its proliferation.

Soon after, the investigating teams (ITs) were set up in the districts. Attention was first directed at a district of the barrios where the infiltrators were first discovered. Each IT consisted of heads of the district committees, certain members of the KLA, and the RKT. The requirements for being appointed to the IT were as follows:

  1. Those with clean records and were not linked to any of the uncovered infiltrations.
  2. Familiar with the personal and political records of those being investigated.
  3. Knew the history of the movement in the area being investigated.

We made sure that these requirements were strictly followed by a systematic discussion of the personal and political records of those selected. We also set up tactical centers in the districts to work alongside the ITs. These oversaw daily work in the territory on an ad hoc basis until the cleansing operations among the full-timers were completed. The members of these tactical centers were members of district committees and those who were leaders of lower organs determined to have clean records. The responsibilities of the IT were as follows:

  1. Review the personal and political records of all the full-time members of the Party and NPA leaders and fighters.
  2. Identify the infiltrators operating in the barrios, investigate them and their collaborators and recommend the appropriate penalty to the front committee.
  3. Determine the extent and the depth of the infiltration, mainly how much the enemy knew about the revolutionary movement and what steps were needed.
  4. Come up with a complete picture of the infiltration and determine the mistakes and weaknesses of the Party that the enemy exploited. Knowing which barrio or barrios served as the launching pad or jump-off point for the infiltrators is vital. Experience showed that enemy agents recruited many full-timers from these barrios covered by the anti-infiltration campaign.

The IT set up their security staff (IS) and the communications staff (IK). These consisted of cadres known not to know about the infiltration. The IS was often composed of the commanders and red fighters of the full-time guerilla units (ganap na unit gerilya, GYG). Its responsibility was to provide security for the IT and assist in the arrest, detention, interrogation, and punishment of infiltrators. They also took care of the technical arrangements and needs like setting up camp, food, etc. The IK ensured that communications were speedy between the RKT and the district tactical centers at one end and the IS at the other. The staff must be given the appropriate orientation on how the purges will work and their role in making that possible. The staff’s firm grasp of the basis and methodology of the clean-up operations are necessary to eradicate all sense of doubt and mistrust of each other. They will enable concerted action as dictated by IT. There had been instances where the failure to understand this orientation entirely had led to doubts and a weakening of resolve among comrades tasked to accomplish the mission.

The ITs will be the lead group in investigating, exposing confirmed infiltrators, arresting and interrogating them, and punishing the ringleaders and those who are active enemy agents. The KLA and the RKT will decide whether an infiltrator will be punished or neutralized (be given amnesty) based on the IT’s recommendations. The Party is definite in its belief that a confirmed infiltrator is generally an enemy. Their false, clandestine identities and sabotaging of the Party organization, the people’s army, and the revolutionary masses are attempts to sabotage the historical advancement of the struggle in the region.

However, there are also two ways in which we regard infiltrators. Our prime targets for revolutionary retribution are those we consider the more dangerous, like the ringleaders and members of the AFP, those actively recruiting inside and outside the organization, or those who are active recruiters. They have committed or attempted to commit harm among our ranks.

The second are those who do not fall under the first category, including recruits and those rarely used by the enemy. Our policy is to neutralize them. After we confront them on what they know about the infiltration, we expel them from the Party and may impose the following on them based on the gravity of their offense.

  1. Retain them in their units but not be appointed to critical positions nor be given any arms, be closely watched, and prevent being put in a situation where the suspect could reestablish contact with the enemy.
  2. Return the suspect to the barrio and disallow them from being a part of the basic mass organization.
  3. Ordered them to leave the guerilla zone permanently.

We made sure that those who were neutralized or granted amnesty would not allow themselves to be exploited by the enemy and not commit any acts of sabotage against the Party, the people’s army, and the masses again. The best guarantee is the admission of the crimes they committed as infiltrators. The guarantee of their relatives in the movement with a clean record is only secondary.

After the first series of revolutionary retributions were meted out in December 1981, we witnessed a steady withdrawal of their co-conspirators from the guerilla zone. The first to flee were weak-willed, and the others were waiting for the right opportunity to escape. Several of them dithered because they believed they had not yet aroused suspicions. The military also sent back two infiltrators to determine what happened to their disappeared comrades. Meanwhile, two entered the guerilla zone to form a new network of spies.

The IT had carefully and systematically exposed these plans and immediately arrested, interrogated, and punished these confirmed infiltrators. From December 1981 to July 1982, we were able to punish two infiltrators and neutralize 15. However, 9 were able to escape. Those punished were the ringleaders who were briefed intensively and comprehensively by their military handlers on the infiltration program and were actively involved in acts of sabotage.

Many of those punished were already agents before they were recruited and turned into full-time cadres of the movement. They were among those who were already intensively and comprehensively briefed by the military. Many of them had already undergone training in the army and intelligence. Until we exposed them, they operated in two-person teams that coordinated with each other from the time they started working in the barrios to becoming full-timers.

Essential Lessons from the Arrest, Detention, Interrogation, and Punishment of Confirmed Ringleaders

The first thing the ITs did was to collect all the written life stories (the personal and political records) of all full-time Party cadres and NPA guerillas and those who were based in the barrios. A detailed guideline was issued for this undertaking. The move was supposed to help reorganize the regional command, and all care was taken not to reveal the reason behind the directive asking everyone to submit their life stories.

Using the information gotten from the infiltrators who were punished and with the help of a select set of life stories and other data from responsible comrades, the following classification was used regarding those being investigated:

  1. Pinpointing at least who among two or more of the infiltrators were the ringleader or the brains, the ones who were actively sabotaging the movement, and those recruited by military agents.
  2. Second, identifying those identified by the infiltrators, especially those involved but who were not the ringleaders, and the vast ambiguous information about them and their activities.
  3. Third, those not identified as the brains behind the network but with connections to others for various reasons, opportunities to infiltrate, and several suspicious features of their personalities.

One mutually agreed basis for determining whether someone was an infiltrator was whether the suspect had been identified by two or more other infiltrators who were themselves confirmed as spies based on irrefutable data. When we analyzed the data, we made it clear that the most critical factors were circumstantial assumptions and data. We made sure that the information was unassailably confirmed and could stand on its own independently. The IT would reach a final decision regarding their punishment based on the recommendations of the RKT and KLA. This would be either unanimous or agreed upon by all secretaries.

The purges must be conducted with the utmost vigilance, secrecy, and care. It was agreed upon that their results would only be announced after the purges were completed among those not part of the infiltration plot. However, we also recognize that in practice, we cannot avoid rousing suspicions and even affecting the well-being of some people, prompting them to ask questions. When provided with vague answers, doubts were sown among our ranks. In such instances, it would be more appropriate that we tell those with clean records the latest updates on the purges early in the purging, especially if those investigated and punished are people they know or had worked together. At this point, we ought to give more importance to the positive effect of doing it this way; for example, having more people know about these investigations may help us in further assessing those who underwent BI or SC. However, we must also keep in mind the negative aspects of this process like the possibility that as they expand, word of the purges would reach the ears of confirmed infiltrators who could then commit to more acts of sabotage or will be able to escape before their arrests and punishment.


No one should be arrested without the collective decision of the IT, RKT, or NIA. The primary purpose of arresting someone is not to determine if he is an infiltrator but to get in formation because we are sure of his status by then. Thus, all those who were arrested were already those to whom revolutionary retribution was already meted out. As such, we will not be concerned about whether they are telling the truth. That said, the Party is open to changing its decision if the principal information that led to the punishment needs to be reviewed.

In making the actual arrest, we must consider the following:

  1. There is a need to come up with a plausible reason (like “the higher organ needs to discuss matters relating to new positions due to the reorganization”) when taking the infiltrator out of his area of operations to the detention camp where he will be interrogated before punished. The cadre who supervises him must be the one to bring him to the camp.
  2. Please avoid using the GRG as the one to pick the infiltrator up, as our past experiences have shown that this would unduly alarm them, prompting them to try to escape. As a result, we ended up killing them instead of getting the chance to interrogate them. It would also be better if the weapon issued to the spy be left with his unit, telling him that “he would be given another weapon once he joins his new unit.”
  3. It should be intimated that the infiltrator would be absent for quite some time and would not be able to correspond and return to the area he was operating in by insinuating that “he would go straight to his new assigned unit.” We do this so that the other infiltrators would not be alerted as to what happened. We can devise more creative ways to dupe the spies, so long as we disarm them, effect their arrests, and not draw the suspicion of the others.
  4. There should be an assigned location where the infiltrator can be made to kneel and manacled before bringing him to the camp. Comrades should also position themselves strategically to prevent the infiltrator from escaping. The ropes and the one assigned to tie the infiltrator must also be ready. These may be minor points to raise here, but it is necessary to mention them because there were instances where the mishandling of the manacling allowed the infiltrator to escape.
  5. We must ensure that the infiltrator no longer has his weapon before ordering him to kneel and be manacled as the team nears the detention camp. We should also avoid giving him a chance to resist. There were episodes in the past where a comrade borrowed another’s gun to check or use when defecating, leaving his gun in a place he could not quickly get at immediately if the infiltrator attempted to fight or escape.


Since the main reason behind an infiltrator›s arrest is to interrogate him before retribution befalls him, it is imperative to give the appropriate concern over his place of detention while waiting to be interrogated. We must make sure that the captive cannot escape. To guarantee that a captive will not be able to escape while in detention and interrogation, we should follow these procedures:

  1. A 24-hour close watch of the captive. We must remember that all that concerns the captive now is to take advantage of a relaxing of our vigilance so that he may either escape or cause more damage.
  2. Make sure that the rope to bind the captive is tight. The captive must be tied in his arms and legs, ensuring that he cannot reach his legs even when in a contorted position.
  3. Keep true to the principle, “Do not be cruel to the prisoners.” This compassionate approach has helped us a lot in making the captive tell the truth.
  4. If the detention cell has two or more captives, make sure they do not get a chance to know more about each other. They would only get the chance to face each other when the prime interrogator deems it necessary.
  5. No other comrades are allowed into the detention cell to avoid exposing the activities happening inside. It would be advisable to have an alternative detention cell where the captives can easily be moved in case the current one is exposed or placed in danger.


After the arrest, the captive must immediately be interrogated. This procedure is very critical if we are to get the truth out of the investigation. The aim is to obtain critical information that can help us dismantle the infiltration. Again, experience has taught us to follow these procedures to get the truth out of the infiltrator.

  1. Appoint a group of principal interrogators (grupong interogador, GI). They will lead the interrogation process from the beginning to the end.
  2. The GIs must immediately investigate all the information regarding the captive’s case before starting the interrogation. This way, the interrogation can be coordinated, patient, and meaningful. It will be coordinated because each interrogator is familiar with the techniques; patient because it values the importance of information that needs to be generated, thereby avoiding the kind of interrogation that is reckless, tedious, and circuitous; and meaningful because the interrogation process is focused on producing what is important, thereby avoiding getting trapped in lesser details.
  3. This is the reason why we must also be ready and agree as to what critical issues the interrogations must focus on and the role that each GI member must assume when it comes to who would play the “good uncle” and who would go rogue in front of them (pretend to be impatient with a prisoners’ answers and be ready to beat them up if they refuse to tell the truth or play hardball). The assignment of these roles will depend on how much the GI members know about their prisoners. Suppose they can grasp the entire picture regarding the interrogation process firmly (hit the bull’s eye). In that case, this will significantly help facilitate the questions and comments that will be asked and said during the interrogation.
  4. There should be a prepared outline of the issue that will be covered by the interrogation, which would include the following

    1. personal and political records.
    2. date and reasons behind their infiltration as agents, the mission, their recruiter(s), their methods of work and means of achieving their mission, salaries, and their military ranks.
    3. the networks they used (or created) and the information theyprovided the enemy.
    4. enemy plans against the movement that they know.
    5. their recruits and potential recruits.
    6. the list of known infiltrators and informers in the village:

      1. their names and personal and political records.
      2. dates and reasons behind their infiltration as agents or recruiters.
      3. their mission and how they plan to achieve this; their salaries and ranks.
      4. activities they have/had been involved in.
      5. recruits (actual and targeted).
      6. information passed on to the enemy.
  5. The investigator must be patient and good at psywar tactics. The prisoners are expected not to reveal anything during the first interrogation session. The following techniques have been proven to be effective in making the prisoner confess:

    1. Convince the prisoners that they will be “released” if they reveal everything that he/ she knows. It should be made clear to the prisoners that the only option left for him/her is to confess since we already know they are infiltrators. All that was needed was to admit all the information in their possession since we were already privy to some of them.
    2. Point to several “brains” of the infiltration program who were arrested and who had already informed on them and who, because they have been helping us in the investigation, were undergoing political re-education.
    3. Lay out enough compromising evidence that leaves them no choice but to confess. We can also show verified information that we know he/she already knows. By doing this, we will determine if they are telling the truth, especially once they begin sharing as much information as they have.
    4. Show the prisoners the revelations of his/ her co-conspirators to convince them they might as well confess. This approach effectively convinced them how compromised they were, so the only option was to confess. Revealing to them whatever information we have would also serve as examples of how those who confessed or collaborated could avoid death.
    5. Promise them with additional remunerations after they are freed and returned to predetention lives. For example, apart from their re-education, we will inform their families about their conditions, provide them with transportation, and inform the enemy that he/she has been compromised so that the military will stop exploiting them.
    6. Bring the prisoners to a grave site to show how serious we are about executing them. We continue to work to convince them to confess even when we place them on the burial grounds and that if they confess, we will bring them back to the interrogation site to record their confessions. If they still refuse our pleas, then they will promptly be executed.
  6. Revolutionary cunning has been the most effective means of getting prisoners to confess. The physical beating of prisoners and other forms of coercion are prohibited. We have come to realize from experience that prisoners’ resolve became more robust when they were subjected to bodily harm because they believed that even if they did confess, we would still execute them, particularly if we remained doubtful of the reliability of the information they gave us. There were incidents where we tortured prisoners, and while this ended in confessions, we belatedly realized that these were all made up.
  7. Only members of the GI should conduct the interrogation. In certain instances, the attempt by nonGI members to insert themselves in the interrogation often disrupts the process, especially since they need to become more familiar with the larger picture and the preparations necessary to ensure an effective investigation.
  8. We often let a whole night pass after the interrogation to allow the prisoners to reassess their options after a day of relentless questioning. Moreover, it is often the case that prisoners end up confessing the next day. There were also instances where prisoners were interrogated for five weeks or used as “bait” to get other prisoners to confess.
  9. We should also explore using those who immediately confess to lure the military into a position where they can be ambushed and their weapons confiscated.
  10. We must write down and record as much as possible the entire interrogation process. We must do this to systematize all the information we have collected and determine the people behind the infiltration and other additional data we can cull from the recordings. We must also immediately alert the affected units and party organs whose security had been compromised based on the data we have collected.

Actual Punishment

After extracting as much important information from the prisoners and realizing they are so compromised that we cannot use them to lure and attack the enemy, we can proceed with their execution. Once the decision to execute is made, we must follow these procedures:

  1. The executions and the burials of those killed must be made in secret. We must try not to reveal the body of the deceased.
  2. We must make sure that the grave is dug correctly before executing the prisoners to make sure that we bury them properly. There were instances in the past when comrades failed to do this out of laziness.
  3. We vehemently prohibit any form of sadistic execution. There being infiltrators should not be made as an excuse for sadism.

There were again instances where the executions had gone too far. In one case, a prisoner was executed despite the flimsy evidence against him/her. The only proof was that another prisoner implicated him/her as the other infiltrator. There was also another case where it was clear that the military had coerced this prisoner to work for them after the latter readily surrendered and shared all the information he/ she had about military operations. The prisoner should just have been forgiven and neutralized instead of executed. Yet there was another case where the GI team immediately recommended the prisoner’s execution even if some of the information gathered from the latter had yet to be confirmed.

These incidents sparked an intense discussion over whether to inflict disciplinary action on the comrades who recommended and decided to favor these egregious actions. We realized that these had to be addressed on a caseto-case basis. If the decision to execute was based solely on a desire for revenge over personal slights, then the disciplinary action must reflect the grievousness of these petty motives. Suppose the decision is based on a subjective assessment or still-limited information collected at the onset of the investigation. In that case, the decision is often to criticize severely these subjective evaluations as evidence of the excess.

Destroying Spy Networks at the Barrio Level

We were also able to weed out the infiltrators and informers among those working full-time in the barrios. Our experience has shown that it is better to pinpoint who the brains are early, particularly those who can divulge the necessary information that would confirm the extent to which these full-timers are involved in the infiltration plot. This was the central issue of contention in one district after we discovered that an ally was one of the ringleaders who actively sabotaged the movement. However, we only punished or were in the process of penalizing most of those found guilty after we did the cleansing among the ranks of the full-timers.

The punishment of the brains of the critical agents who actively maintain the infiltration network should be prioritized. They are usually the ones who owe us blood and who actively cooperate with our enemies. The punishment of those whose infiltration status is unknown yet should be done in secret (or “the missing style”), especially if the agent is still immersed with the masses. The punishment of those whose infiltrator status was known can be made known to others as long as our comrades and the masses can deal with the enemy’s vengeance.

It would be better if we neutralize those implicated in the plot who were not its brains or who had no blood on their hands. This would ensure that they will do no more harm, nor will they be exploited by the enemy. They should also be strongly warned not to participate again in the plot.

We should also explain this to the families and relatives of arrested infiltrators who knew of their kin’s involvement in the plot, and the punishment meted out to the latter and the reasons for such penalties. In doing so, we not only provide them with a clear explanation of our actions but also prevent them from being used by the enemy against us.

Weaknesses and Mistakes of the Party that the Enemy Exploited

We successfully foiled the enemy’s attempts to destroy the revolutionary movement in the QBZ from within. However, we must also ascertain our weaknesses and mistakes to draw lessons from these and better understand how the enemy was able to infiltrate our ranks.

  1. In response to the Party’s call for expansion, we mobilized our mass activists to infiltrate and begin organizing barrios adjacent to our zone of operations. It took some time before NPA units could visit these places because we needed more cadres to undertake the work. Further, because of their lack of experience, expertise and skills, their organizing was hasty and reckless. It was, therefore, easy for paid agents of the state to penetrate the mass organizations that were formed simply by pretending that they were “enthusiastic members of the masses who had been waiting for the NPA’s arrival.”
  2. Leading party organs must be able to strike the proper balance between expansion and consolidation. We did it right when we mobilized mass activists to help coordinate our work, but we must also make sure that we supervise and guide them closely. Only if we are confident that the expansion area is adequate will we allow an NPA unit to enter it to continue its political work. When doing this, we must constantly remember the mantra, “With utmost courage do we expand ourselves and make sure not a single undesirable element can get in (our ranks).”
  3. We could not conduct a relentless social investigation and acquaintance of those in the basic mass organizations and Party branches, particularly those passed on to us by the previous mass organizers. We were content with the superficial knowledge we received and were made to believe in the “energy” of those who turned out to be paid military agents. Because the masses are the base of our cadres and fighters, we should have gotten to know them more closely before recruiting them to any of the mass organizations under our leadership.
  4. A major factor behind these mistakes was the failure of the cadres and the NPA unit failure to know the community they were organizing. This allowed fifteen of the army trainees to infiltrate the community as full-timers. We must be assiduous in our investigation of a barrio’s mass organizations and the Party branch, even at the consolidation phase of our expansion.
  5. Our investigation was additionally affected by our lack of information about military raids, arrests, salvaging, and the “escape” of captured comrades. Had we seriously addressed this problem, we would have been able to investigate and study and have a clear idea behind the “mysterious” events happening in the barrio and nip the infiltration plot in the bud.
  6. We were too liberal in promoting activists to the rank of cadres and red fighters. Many of these infiltrators were promoted to these positions with the help and recommendation of the cadre corps and the barrio Party branch. The district committee’s problem was its failure to conduct an in-depth profiling of the political record of those who wanted to go full-time.
  7. Apart from being former (military) trainees, some were relatives of the military, who were lumpen elements and drunks in the barrio. Again, if we could have only anticipated these problems, they would not have passed the KIA’s requirements to go full-time. Henceforth we must focus on promoting members of the basic masses who have impressive political records and are respected members of the barrio.
  8. Some were promoted based on nary a criterion. They became full-time members because they were supposedly “hot in the enemy’s list.” The military devised a ruse to make it appear like they were after these agents, like raiding their houses, labeling them as NPA commanders, and having these agents “escape” from the military’s custody and seize military firearms.
  9. We must remind ourselves that the foundation of our revolutionary commitment is a revolutionary practice. The latter, in turn, is based on a correct and time-tested approach that inspires a comrade to go full-time. If a comrade has been compromised in the barrio but does not have the foundation needed to become a full-timer, it would be more appropriate to reassign her to another barrio to conduct SCM there.
  10. We must avoid bringing those among the masses who have been compromised into an area where our cadres and fighters are operating. These are the kinds of situations that make it possible for the military to infiltrate our ranks. Moreover, it also unduly exposes the mass organizations and the barrio’s Party branch.
  11. Apart from the efforts by other intelligence services of the military to infiltrate organizations in the other districts of the QBZ, the problem also spread when cadres and fighters were moved from one district to another. Infiltrators who began operations in one district were, therefore, able to spy on three more districts.
  12. We needed to be more vigilant when assigning cadres and fighters to different areas and work. We must not assign broad and critical work to new full-timers and inexperienced comrades. As a result, spies could infiltrate two GYGs and a district’s communication staff. An infiltrator was even transferred to a Party committee in a nearby region.
  13. We must be aware of how much time and arduous efforts that full-time guerrilla units had squandered in staging tactical offensives that had been sabotaged by enemy agents inside these units. The infiltration had also endangered our primary guerrilla units to military raids.
  14. We likewise placed our leading cadres in danger of adding these infiltrators to their central staff. They were the infiltrators’ first targets.
  15. We were too ready to accept any of those who claimed they could escape from the enemy. The enemy effectively took advantage of our lack of vigilance and placed infiltrators among those who escaped and those who came from other areas, to put these comrades in a compromising position. We likewise betrayed our naivete in taking in those who said they were operating or were previously organizing in other areas but had moved to ours.
  16. We should immediately have placed those who claimed they escaped under the strict supervision of the BI or the SC. We must probe deeper into the circumstances behind their capture, what the enemy did to them, the record of their activities while under detention, and the manner of their escape. This should also be the same approach we must take when dealing with those who claimed they once operated in other areas. We will need to write to comrades in these areas to ascertain whether their comrade was indeed operating there. We must conduct our inquiries in secret and while awaiting a reply, we must keep these comrades under the tight watch of a select number of comrades in the barrio.
  17. The lack of a written summary report of the past cases of military infiltration between 1976 and 1977 was a critical factor in our failure to share with everyone the lessons learned from these experiences. As a result, many of our cadres and activists were unfamiliar with the problem and consequences of infiltration as an enemy tactic to destroy us. This ignorance gave the enemy vast space to maneuver, infiltrate, and rise through the ranks. Their efforts were made more accessible by members and cadres letting their guard down, ignoring suspicious or out-of-the-ordinary actions, and keeping their worries to themselves. Alternatively, they told themselves “To trust comrades” so as not to be further burdened by their concerns.
  18. We must provide cadres and members of the Party and the NPA a comprehensive education about the enemy’s use of infiltration to destroy us from inside the organization. This way, they will be more alert and vigilant. This summation ensures that we can address past mistakes and this need for a comprehensive understanding of infiltration.

February 1983



Note: These footnotes were provided by the translators, Veronica Alporha and Patricio N. Abinales.
~ Marxists Internet Archive

1. This might have been a play at the Lipunan at Rebolusyong Pilipino (Philippine Society and Revolution), a book penned by Amado Guerrero (nom de guerre of CPP founding chair, Jose Maria Sison), which served as the “textbook” of the Party and the movement.↩︎

2. Libog is a district in Albay Province, while Del Gallego is a municipality of Camarines Sur province↩︎

3. The “fire” here refers to sweeping AFP operations that either led to the arrests or deaths of many in the top leadership.↩︎

4. NISA stands for the National Intelligence Security Agency, while PC-INP is the Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police.↩︎