The Department of Justice (DOJ) will cite numerous ambuscades carried out by suspected communist rebels in the government’s petition to legally declare the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorist groups.
Among the attacks cited was the ambush done by suspected communist rebels against soldiers responding to help civilians in a storm-hit village in Catubig, Northern Samar, according to Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong.
“These are very recent incidents,” Ong said in a press conference on Wednesday. “The attack on the rescue operations ng military sa Catubig, Samar (during) typhoon Urduja.”
The troops were aiding victims of the storm on December 17, when the suspected communist rebels attacked them, injuring two soldiers.
Reports said the military unit was heading toward Barangay Hinagoyonon, Catubig to assist residents affected by flooding when the NPA opened fire at them.
“We were able to gather incidents, they call it atrocities, tactical offensives, incidents of terrorist acts, but we want to focus in the incidents after the President assumed office,” he said.
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 communists.
“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 (these offensives wre their answer to the pace negotiations),” Ong said.
The petition was expected to be filed with the court within January, Ong said, explaining the DOJ was still waiting for certified copies of incident reports on the attacks.
“Perhaps (it would be filed) within the month, kaya na ito. So many incidents, I’m still waiting for the reports to come in, certified true copies of the reports,” Ong said.
“We listed about 15 incidents. Baka i-zero in namin ito sa 10 or 12 (Maybe we can zero-in to around 10 to 12),” he said.
Duterte signed a proclamation declaring the CPP-NPA as “terrorist groups,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque announced on December.
Roque said that any person caught financing and supporting the CPP-NPA will also be held liable under the law.
DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II earlier said he has formed a team of prosecutors to file a formal petition in court to legally declare the groups as “terrorists.”
READ: DOJ to ask court to declare CPP-NPA a terror group
“It has excellent chances (of being approved) because of the numerous supporting evidence we have (showing) that they are committing terroristic activities despite numerous initiatives of President Duterte to reach out to them,” Aguirre said in a text message to reporters on December 6. /jpv