Special guest: Coni Ledesma

Coni Ledesma

Coni Ledesma

Coni Ledesma is currently a member of the National Democratic Front’s (NDF) Peace Negotiating Panel.  The NDF is a is a coalition of revolutionary social and economic justice organizations, agricultural unions, trade unions, indigenous rights groups, leftist political parties, and other related groups in the Philippines.

Maria Consuelo “Coni” Kalaw Ledesma was born into an affluent family in Silay, Negros Occidental in the heart of Negro sugar country.  Ledesma was an activist nun during the turbulent period known as the First quarter Storm at end of the 1960s. She was a founding member of Christians for National Liberation, the underground organization for subversive priests and nuns.

In August 1972, Ledesma was captured and detained for almost a year by the Marcos Dictatorship. She was released with the intercession of the Catholic bishops and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines.

In 1976, she began international work for the National Democratic Front. In the same year, she married Louis Jalandoni, himself a former Catholic priest before becoming one of the leaders of the NDF. 

They migrated to the Netherlands and were the first Filipinos to be granted political asylum in that country. 

Ledesma is now a member of the NDF negotiating panel and a member of the reciprocal working committee for human rights and international humanitarian law. She has also served as the international representative of Makibaka, an underground feminist organization and member organization of the NDFP.