Ties that bind
It started when young Aquino, as a war correspondent in Korea and Southeast Asia in the early 1950s, saw communism in a different light.
In the book The Aquinos of Tarlac, Nick Joaquin quoted Aquino as saying: “To me, Communism and democracy had been black and white: Communism was bad, democracy was good. But when I saw how the North Korean prisoners were tortured and yet stuck to their own creed, I began to wonder."
Aquino would later rub elbows with leaders of CPP themselves — first with founder Jose Maria Sison, and later with Rodolfo Salas, CPP chair at the height of Martial Law.
While Aquino’s relationship with Sison was more detached, Claudio said it was different with Salas.
In an interview with Claudio, Salas said not only did he bring wounded New People’s Army (NPA) soldiers to Aquino’s houses, but he received guns and cash from Aquino himself.
He also said Aquino had a significant contribution to the expansion of NPA in the country.
Salas claimed the relationship went beyond these meetings.
He said he was “best friends” with Aquino’s aide Perfecto “Pentong” Masbad, and whenever Pentong would get a “balato” (bonus) from Aquino, Salas would get some too.
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