Court orders revival of DOJ bid to declare CPP-NPA terror group

By Benjamin Pulta

February 10, 2020, 4:49 pm

<p>Court order dated February 7, 2020 signed by Manila Regional Trial Court Branch  19 Judge Marlo A. Magdoza- Malagar (<em>PNA photo</em>)</p>

Court order dated February 7, 2020 signed by Manila Regional Trial Court Branch  19 Judge Marlo A. Magdoza- Malagar (PNA photo)

MANILA – A Manila court has approved the revival of a Philippine government petition seeking to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army (CPP-NPA) a.k.a. Bagong Hukbong Bayan as a terrorist organization under Rep. Act No. 9372 or the Human Security Act of 2007.

Manila Regional Trial Court Branch  19 Judge Marlo A. Magdoza- Malagar, in an order dated February 7, 2020, granted a motion for reconsideration filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ), citing "higher interest of justice".

"The instant petition is hereby revived and the petitioner is directed to immediately cause the service of summons to the respondents by publication," the order said.

Under the Human Security Act the government may, among other things, seize "deposits and their outstanding balances, placements, trust accounts, assets, and records in any bank or financial institution, money, businesses, transportation and communication equipment, supplies and other implements, and property" belonging to an organization declared as a terrorist organization and its members.

The original petition was filed in February 2018.

On January 3, 2019, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed the amended petition before the  Manila RTC delisting 600 persons in the original petition.

The court dismissed the DOJ petition on January 20, 2020 for the DOJ's failure to prosecute with the court citing that "despite the lapse of a considerable length of time, the petitioner had not yet caused the service of summons by publication".

In his motion for reconsideration dated February 3, Deputy State Prosecutor Peter L. Ong explained the delay in the publication citing that the cost had not been budgeted in citing the voluminous records which accompanied the petition "owing to the publication cost of approximately P 200,000 to P300,000 to be disbursed from government funds".

"The foregoing events caused the undersigned, as a public official to be circumspect in every step he is taking so as not to prejudice government funds as well as the interest of the government, whose objective in filing of this case, is to achieve a just and lasting peace for this country by, among others, ending the five-decade conflict with respondents," Ong added.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. (PNA)