DOJ to pursue petition tagging CPP, NPA as terrorist groups

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

July 2, 2018, 5:41 pm

MANILA -- The Department of Justice (DOJ) will pursue the petition filed before the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) seeking to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), as terrorist groups.

"We will continue with our petition in the court, unless and until the President and the government peace panel direct us otherwise," Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told reporters Monday following the suspension of the peace talks between the government and the communist rebels.

Guevarra also revealed that the DOJ has asked the courts to order the arrest of National Democratic Front (NDF) consultants and CPP leaders who were granted bail to participate in peace talks which were originally scheduled for last month.

He was referring to the petition filed by the DOJ before the Manila RTC last March seeking to declare communist leaders and their armed members as terrorists.

The DOJ submitted to the court a list of over 600 personalities, including CPP founder Jose Maria Sison, peace negotiator Luis Jalandoni, former lawmaker and leftist leader Satur Ocampo, and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.

Also in the list are alleged CPP leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultant Rafael Baylosis, former peace panel chief Luis Jalandoni, human rights lawyer and former Baguio City councilor Jose Molintas and Cordillerans Joanna Carino, Windel Farag-ey Bolinget, Sherwin De Vera, Beverly Sakongan Longid and Jeannette Ribaya Cawiding.

The petition was filed following the termination of the peace talks between the government and the CPP in November last year.

Duterte initiated formal peace talks with the NDF shortly after winning the presidency in 2016 but canceled them in November last year amid continued attacks of the NPA on government forces and civilians.

The President signed a proclamation in December 2017 declaring the CPP-NPA as a terror organization using Republic Act 10168 or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012 as basis.

In a 55-page proscription petition, the DOJ asked the Manila RTC to issue an order declaring the CPP and NPA, also known as the Bagong Hukbong Bayan, as terrorist and outlawed organizations, associations or group of persons pursuant to Section 17 of RA 9372 or the Human Security Act of 2007.

The petition was basically based on two grounds: that the organization, association or group of persons were organized for the purpose of engaging in terrorism; and that even if the organization, association or group of persons was not organized to engage in terrorism, it still commits acts of terrorism, such as murder and arson and other activities, for the purpose of sowing terror.

The petition also said that the CPP-NPA is 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, seize control of the government, and impose a totalitarian regime.

It added that the CPP-NPA also committed acts of terrorism, such as murder, kidnapping, arson and other activities, to sow terror and panic. (PNA)