Manila, Jan. 25, 2003 - Jesus Lava, the former secretary general of the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (the "old" Communist Party of the Philippines), is dead. He was 88.

Lava, the medical doctor turned revolutionary, died on Jan. 21 from undiagnosed prostate cancer.

His remains lie at the Loyola Memorial Chapels in Makati.

A scion of a prominent Bulacan family of landowners, Jesus Lava was the least likely of the five Lava sons to join the revolutionary movement, according to Jose Dalisay, the Lava family biographer.

"He was a nationalist, a doctor who believed that he could help society by (curing) society's ills itself,'' said Dalisay Friday.

Graduating from the University of the Philippines College of Medicine in 1938, Lava was involved in treating Filipino guerrillas and US servicemen during the initial phases of World War II.

But the Lavas became inevitably caught up in the political ferment of the 1930s. The three Lava brothers--Vicente, Jose and Jesus--joined the PKP, which had been founded in 1930, and would rise to the leadership of the movement.

"They never expected him (Jesus) to join, but when he joined, he took his job seriously... He was more practical, not an ideologue although he had a firm grasp of political realities and exigencies...'' said Dalisay.

Jesus, the youngest brother, would have a direct hand in the operations of the PKP well into the 1960s when he was captured and imprisoned.

But after the war, Lava was a believer in the electoral process, running for congressman and winning in the first district of Bulacan under the Democratic Alliance, an alliance of peasants, workers, intellectuals and some middle-class individuals fighting for genuine independence.

A few months later, he and the other DA congressmen were ousted from Congress on trumped-up charges of fraud. When a peasant leader was abducted and later turned up dead, Jesus took to the hills.

He was PKP secretary general from 1950 to May 21, 1964, when he was captured. He was released in a general amnesty in 1974.

Long before Lava's capture, however, morale in the PKP had sunk and the Huks had degenerated into small roving bands.

In 1968, Jose Ma. Sison led a reestablished Communist Party of the Philippines, declaring itself apart from the old PKP.

During his detention, Lava developed a keen interest in psychic healing and experimented with hypnosis. After his release, he became research director of the Philippine Society for Psychic Healing. He co-wrote two books on the field. He was also asked to give the annual lecture on alternative healing for medical students by the UP Department of Pharmacology. (Inquirer)

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