Terror tag on 600 CPP-NPA leaders up to court, says Guevarra

By Kristine Joy Patag

MANILA, Philippines — The declaration of members and persons with alleged link to the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army as terrorists is now with the courts, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.

In a text message to reporters on Tuesday, Guevarra said: “We will leave it to the court to make the final determination.” The petition is grounded on Republic Act 9372 (Human Security Act of 2007).

Following the cancelation of peace talks between the government and communist rebels, Guevarra said on Monday that the DOJ “will continue with our petition in the court unless and until the president and the government peace panel direct us otherwise.”

Last February, the DOJ filed its petition seeking the declaration of over 600 individuals as terrorists. 

According to rights group Karapatan, there were 46 human rights defenders—including UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz—named in the DOJ’s petition.

The DOJ’s move came on the heels of President Rodrigo Duterte’s vow to eliminate the communist movement.

Malacañang has earlier said that the Justice department was just “reinforcing” the US State Department and the European Union’s classification of the CPP-NPA as terrorist bodies.

The petition, signed by Senior Associate State Prosecutor Peter Ong, accused the CPP-NPA of having an “evil plan of imposing a totalitarian regime.”

Others who were included in the list are former Bayan Muna representative Satur Ocampo, alleged CPP leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, National Democratic Front consultant Rafael Baylosis, former peace panel chief Luis Jalandoni, human rights lawyer and former Baguio City councilor Jose Molintas and Cordillerans Joanna Cariño, Windel Farag-ey Bolinget, Sherwin de Vera, Beverly Sakongan Longid and Jeannette Ribaya Cawiding.

Source: PhilStar

Related to SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions and SDG 10: Reduced inequalities