MANILA -- The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday filed a formal petition before the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorist groups.
In a 55-page proscription petition filed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong, the agency asked the Manila RTC to issue an order declaring CPP and the NPA also known as the Bagong Hukbong Bayan, as terrorist and outlawed organizations, associations or group of persons persuant to Section 17 of Republic Act No. 9372 or the Human Security Act of 2007.
Ong said the petition has basically two grounds namely, that the organization, association or group of persons was organized for the purpose of engaging in terrorism and that even if the organization, association or group of persons was not organized for the purpose of engaging in terrorism but it commits act of terrorism such as murder and arson and other activities for the purpose of sowing terror.
It said that the CPP-NPA are just buying time by deceiving the government in entering into peace talks while their main purpose is to mobilize their forces in preparation for a “people’s war” to overthrow the duly-constituted authorities, seizing control of the government and imposing a totalitarian regime.
Ong said the CPP-NPA also committed acts of terrorism such as murder, kidnapping, arson and other activities for purpose of sowing terror and panic.
“Thus, there is no other time to put an end to their deception, to their protracted people’s war and to their evil plan of imposing a totalitarian regime, but through the filing of this petition and, consequently, by declaring respondents CPP-NPA as terrorist and outlawed organizations, associations and or group of persons,” part of the petition said.
Ong said in 2017 alone, there were 12 incidents, including ambushes conducted by the NPA targeting soldiers and policemen in various parts of the country.
“Included here is the ambush of four policemen and members of the Scene of the Crime Operatives in Bansalan, Davao del Sur last March 2017 and a team of Army personnel conducting humanitarian operations in Catubig, Northern Samar,” Ong said.
The Bansalan ambush resulted to the killing of four policemen while another was injured. On the other hand, a soldier was killed and another wounded in the Catubig ambush while they were on their way to deliver relief supplies to residents affected by typhoon Urduja last December.
The petition also listed ‘terror activities” and “atrocities” conducted by the NPA in Negros Occidental and Oriental, Surigao, Misamis Oriental, Bukidon, Cagayan de Oro City and Davao.
Ong said that should the proscription petition be granted by the court, it would have the consequence of allowing government to seek the permission of the Court of Appeals to engage in wiretapping activities against the respondents, as well as apply for a freeze order on, and examination of the bank accounts and assets of their financiers, leaders, and identified members.
Asked on what would be the effect of the petition to CPP founder Jose Maria Sison, Ong declined to comment, adding that the proscription is for the organization.
“I don’t know. I don’t want to talk about politics. This petition is for the organization,” he added.
As to why the National Democratic Front was not included, Ong said the order issued by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to him was only for the CPP-NPA, adding it was also the same guidance issued by Aguirre to the Prosecutor General.
Ong said the filing of petition came after President Duterte’s decision to issue a proclamation naming the CPP as a terror group.
Ong said the attacks occurred as President Rodrigo Duterte was “extending his hand” and “showing good faith” in the peace talks between the government and the rebels.
“The point is the President was extending his hand, showing his good faith and sincerity for just and lasting peace. And yet ito pa ang mga offensives ang kapalit ng peace negotiations,” Ong noted.
The senior prosecutor said their investigation showed how the CPP-NPA did not honor the good faith and sincerity extended by the Duterte administration and continued their offensives during the earlier peace talks.
"They committed terrorist acts that will justify in designating them as terrorist organization," Ong explained.
Ong also cited numerous attacks made by CPP-NPA in various provinces all over the country as basis to legally declare it as a terrorist group.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier announced that the President has signed a proclamation formally designating the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization.
The Palace spokesperson said the President signed the proclamation pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act No. 10168 or the Human Security Act.
Roque said under the law, affiliate revolutionary groups of the CPP-NPA would also be considered terrorist groups, and anyone proven to be financing them would be held liable.
Citing the pertinent provisions of RA 10168, Roque said a designated person is “any person or entity designated or identified as a terrorist, as one who finances terrorism or a terrorist organization or group under the applicable United Nations Security Council resolution or by another jurisdiction or supranational jurisdiction and pursuant to the proclamation which implements the Human Security Act.”
“Take note that the domestic statute and the UN Security Council prohibit the giving of funds to terrorist organizations. This will enable law enforcement agencies to run after individuals who will, in any way, provide financial support to the NPA now that it has been described as a terrorist organization,” Roque said.
In his proclamation, Duterte directed the Department of Foreign Affairs “to publish the foregoing designation of CPP-NPA and other designated persons, organizations, in accordance with Sections 3 and 15 of RA 10168 and its implementing rules and regulations.”
The proclamation was issued after the Philippine government terminated peace talks with the CPP-NPA after a series of violent attacks which the President described as against the humanitarian law. (PNA)