James went back to Iligan in 1970, where he began to organize among students, farmers, workers and Moro communities in the Lanao provinces.
When the student ferment of the early 1970s reached Iligan City, Venerando’s older brothers joined the Kabataang Makabayan. He too joined later. Owning a booming voice, he was soon making fiery speeches before crowds. He was tall at 5’11”and he carried himself well, and so was easy to see in a crowd.