Communists won’t contest ‘terrorist’ tag in court
LUCENA CITY—The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), would not participate in the court proceedings to oppose the “terrorist” tag labeled them by the government, top rebel leader Jose Maria “Joma” Sison declared on Friday.
Sison maintained that as revolutionary forces, the CPP, NPA and their supporters from the ranks of workers and peasants had “their own revolutionary democratic government.”
“On this principled basis, the CPP and NPA cannot and will not enter the court of the reactionary government to participate in proceedings,” Sison, CPP founding chair, said in an online interview from his base in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II announced on Thursday that the government would file a petition in court, probably next week, to legally declare the CPP-NPA as terrorist groups.
President Duterte issued Proclamation No. 374 on Dec. 5, declaring members of the CPP-NPA as terrorists. Anyone proven to be financing the groups would also be held liable under the law, he said.
Once the court starts a full-blown trial, Aguirre said he expected the communist rebels to contest the government’s contention that they were engaged in terrorism.
Under Section 17 of Republic Act No. 9372, or the Human Security Act of 2007, the Department of Justice must first seek clearance from the court before an organization, association or group of persons could be declared a terrorist.