NDFP holds moving tribute to Jose “Pepe” Luneta (1944-2018)

Press Statement | 4 June 2018

The NDFP International Information Office held a moving memorial for Jose “Pepe” Ebora Luneta last June 3 in Utrecht, The Netherlands attended by close comrades, friends, compatriots, and solidarity activists from Germany. Luneta passed away after a long battle with diabetes last May 1 in Bielefeld, Germany.

In fitting tributes to Luneta, Prof. Jose Ma. Sison, Founding Chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and Luis Jalandoni, member of the National Executive Committee of the NDFP, delivered moving eulogies for Jose Luneta who is simply remembered as “Ka Pepe” or Comrade Pepe.

In his message, Prof. Sison called Luneta “an outstanding proletarian revolutionary fighter and a selfless patriot and servant of the Filipino people for more than 55 years.”

“His lifelong struggle, sacrifices and successes in the service to the oppressed and exploited people console all of us,” Sison stressed.

Luneta, Sison said, was a delegate in absentia to the founding congress of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on December 26, 1968 and was elected a member of the CPP Central Committee and the Political Bureau. He became the General Secretary of the CPP in June 1971 after the arrest of his predecessor and participated in the founding of the National Democratic Front on April 24, 1973 in Baguio City, Sison added.

Sison related: “Like any cadre determined to fight the enemy and learn lessons from the process of fighting, he scored achievements and had his own share of errors and weaknesses which he overcame through the process of criticism and self-criticism. In accordance with principles and the facts, he promptly admitted and actively corrected mistakes and shortcomings. Thus, his revolutionary merits far outweigh his demerits.”

In 1990, Luneta left the Philippines to undertake political work among overseas Filipinos and to help develop solidarity relations with other peoples. He landed in Europe and eventually proceeded to Germany to seek political asylum in 1994. From then on, he lived in Germany as a refugee, Sison narrated.

In a memorial meeting in Bielefeld last May 21, Sison related how his comrades and friends from various countries expressed their highest respect, love and gratitude for Ka Pepe for raising their revolutionary consciousness, militancy and sense of proletarian internationalism and solidarity among the oppressed peoples.

Luis Jalandoni for his part, said Luneta’s cadre qualities in his revolutionary work in the Philippines were likewise evident in his political work in Germany and Luxembourg, from 1994 until 2018.

“He integrated with migrant Filipinos in Germany and Luxembourg and raised their political and organizational involvement for the Philippine revolutionary movement,“Jalandoni noted.

“He developed close friendships and political cooperation with migrants and refugees from Africa, the Middle East, and other foreign countries through the very active and effective organizations Karawane and Move to Resist. Despite his illness, he attended their meetings and spoke at their political activities. He got to know them personally. They loved him as a brother, a father, a teacher, a comrade. In his own personal humble way, he would share with them his deep convictions, while raising their political commitment,” Jalandoni emphasized.

Apart from being proficient in several languages such as Pilipino, English, Spanish, German and Chinese, Luneta was also a music composer and a good singer. One of his more popular songs was the “Awit ng Karelasyon”, a wedding song that he composed for his brother’s wedding and which remains popular among activists and revolutionaries until today. He also translated from the Chinese original the song ¨Ang Masa¨, which spread like wildfire among the mass activists during the First Quarter Storm of 1970.

Cultural activists at the memorial gave tribute to Luneta by singing Awit ng Karelasyon l during the memorial. They also recited Professor Sison’s poem What Makes a Hero..

During the memorial tribute, an “open mic” was alloted for comrades and friends to share their recollection and experiences with Luneta.

Henning, a close German friend of Luneta who took care of him during his time of illness and was at his side when he passed away, spoke in behalf of Luneta’s friends in Bielefeld. “You had made quite an impression on me, with your lifelong struggle, your unflinching determination, your sense of injustice. And above all: your kindness, and willingness to listen to people around you, to keep on doing what you could for those in need,” Henning stressed.

“We will keep telling your stories, and your story with us, over and over again, thinking of you, smiling,” Henning concluded.

Dagmar Eberhand of the German-Filipino Friendship Association (GFFA) spoke about Ka Pepe’s important role in the building of the GFFA.

Dan and Malu, Filipinos who now live in the Netherlands and who are also close to Luneta in the Philippines, recounted light moments with Luneta when they were still working together back in the Philippines.

Another Filipino comrade sent an email which was read during the memorial recounting the time when he and Luneta were being severely tortured by dictator Marcos’ military. Luneta, he said, told him “only by being selfless can we be fearless”.

In behalf of the Luneta family, Maxima Luneta-Esguerra, sister of Pepe Luneta and herself a former political prisoner, expressed their deep gratitude for the love, care and devotion shown to his brother. The whole family, including Pepe’s only son, she said, sends their boundless gratitude to the goodness shown on his brother.

“Our siblings who have passed away, and were imprisoned during martial law – Romeo, Domingo, Francisco, Ernesto, Nenita and daughter Nina – who were victims of forced disappearance, would probably be watching and would like to thank all of you,” Luneta-Esguerra said in her message.

Dutch, German, Turkish, Afghan, and Filipino friends who attended the memorial said the tribute was moving and inspiring, and though they don’t know Jose Luneta personally, they said words said about him, about his life and struggle, were a deep learning experience.#