First UP Diliman rally after the war

By Elmer Ordonez

March 29, 1951. The military and police were on red alert. The date marked the 9th anniversary of the founding of the Hukbalahap (Hukbong Bayan Laban sa Hapon) renamed after the war as Hukbong Magpapalaya ng Bayan (HMB). Early that morning the troops of Col. Napoleon Valeriano trucked out of their camp (now UP Bliss) flying their black flags with white skull and bones heading for Central Luzon where the HMBs were waging people’s war and preparing for an offensive to take Manila. The leaders greeted each other with “See you in Malacañang” despite a severe setback with the arrest the year before of the “In politburo” including several UP alumni – Jose Lava, Angel Baking, Sammy Rodriguez, and the roundup of reported members of the Communist Party and brought to military camps for interrogation. Among those “invited” were journalists like Jose A. Lansang, executive editor of the Philippine Herald, and writers and reporters like Macario Vicencio, Rafael de Tagle and Juan Quesada. Popular bookstore owner Joaquin Po himself was detained by the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) who suspected that his bookstore was a message center of the movement. The writ of habeas corpus had been suspended. Lawyers of the Civil Liberties Union rose to defend those arrested and charged in court with “rebellion (complex with murder).”

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