By Professor JOSE MARIA SISON
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
The Filipino people will always cherish the outstanding role of Cardinal Sin in criticizing the human rights violations under the Marcos fascist dictatorship and in ultimately acting to help end this reign of terror and greed.
I never met Cardinal Sin personally. I was not able to visit him after I was released from military detention in 1986. But I knew him as a good priest and moral leader through close friends and relatives.
He began to take up the cause of the victims of human rights violations after Luis Jalandoni, Coni Ledesma and friends in the Christians for National Liberation arranged families of said victims and other people to plead for his active support and assistance in 1974.
He was close to my uncle, the late Archbishop of Nueva Segovia Juan Sison. They were often together on trips to Rome. After my arrest in 1977, Archbishop Sison sent my mother to him to request Cardinal Sin to intercede with Marcos to stop the tortures being applied on me.
When my mother asked him to officiate at the silver wedding anniversary of my brother Dr. Ramon C. Sison and his wife Rosario in 1984, Cardinal Sin suggested that he would like to baptize my son Jasm who had been born in the army prison hospital in Fort Bonifacio in 1981.
The Free Jose Maria Sison Committee decided to make the baptism a meaningful event of the united front. Friends of mine like Senator Lorenzo M.Tanada, my lawyers Juan T. David and Joker Arroyo and other prominent opponents of the fascist regime stood as godfathers of my son.
There was a time when Cardinal Sin encouraged Julie though my mother to visit him and discuss the situation of political prisoners. He was fond of trading jokes. Thus, a number of times Julie and I devised some jokes that we thought he would like to hear. In fact, he enjoyed them and asked to borrow some of them.
He was serious as a priest and once he proposed that he would seek my immediate freedom if I declared that I was not a communist. But he was not offended when I stood my own ground. Indeed, he was moved by the principle of the free conscience and the spirit of ecumenism.
I kept in touch with him even when we had obvious differences after the Aquino regime became consolidated. But later on, he would surprise the public a number of times during the regimes of Ramos and Estrada when he would declare that he communicated with me on some public issues and keeping mass actions peaceful in order to dispel military psywar that violence would erupt in the protest actions of the patriotic and progressive mass organizations.
Whenever mutual friends visited him, he conveyed to me warm greetings and encouragement to me as chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines. He often offered help to keep the peace negotiations going whenever there were obstacles.
The Filipino people will always remember and draw inspiration from the service and good works of Cardinal Sin.