Declare CPP-NPA as terrorist group, gov’t asks court
The Duterte administration has formally sought the declaration of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) as a terrorist organization.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed on Wednesday a petition asking a Manila court to legally affirm the terrorist tag against the communist group.
President Rodrigo Duterte issued a proclamation on December 5, 2017, classifying the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization.
However, Section 17 of Republic Act No. 9372, or the Human Security Act of 2007 (HSA), provides that the government thru the DOJ must first seek clearance from the court before an organization, association or group of persons can be declared as terrorist and outlawed group.
Senior State Prosecutor Peter L. Ong said that the proscription petition to declare CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization zeroed in on 12 incidents, which the armed group committed in 2017.
Some of the incidents cited in the petition were the death of four police officers in Davao Del Sur in February 2017, the attack on members of the Philippine Army conducting humanitarian assistance in northern Samar, and the death of a four-month-old girl during an NPA ambush in Bukidnon last November.
READ: NPA tagged in ambush-slay of 4 cops in Davao Sur
READ: Baby killed, Lanao del Sur police chief hurt in Bukidnon ambush
Ong cited two grounds under the HSA in persuading the court to favor the proscription or outlawing of the CPP-NPA: 1) That the organization, association or group of person was organized for the purpose of engaging in terrorism; and 2) That even if the organization, association or group of person was not organized for purposes of engaging in terrorism, it commits act of terrorism such as murder (and/or) arson for the purpose of sowing terror.
“We realized that they already have terrorist activities in the past; and their very declaration (on) why the party and the armed group was formed (as well as) the founder’s [statements] in his books establishes that they were organized to engage in terrorism,” Ong said at a press conference.
He also said that even if the CPP-NPA would argue that they are a revolutionary group, Ong asserted that “ rebellion is a predicate offense of terrorism.”
“Respondents CPP and NPA are merely buying time by deceiving the Philippine government in entering into peace talks, while their main purpose is to mobilize all their forces in preparation for the ‘people’s war’ aimed at overthrowing the duly constituted authorities, seizing control of the Philippine government, and imposing a totalitarian regime,” the petition contended.
Aside from the 12 incidents, the petition furhter noted the threat made by National Democratic Front of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison that rebels could kill one soldier per region per day.
“I was really alarmed when I heard that [over the news],” Ong said.
According to Ong, the DOJ petition was based on the information provided to him by the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA).
Ong said that should the proscription petition be granted by the court, it will have the consequence of allowing government to seek the permission of the Court of Appeals to engage in wiretapping activities against the respondents, as well as apply for a freeze order on and examination of the bank accounts and assets of their financiers, leaders, and identified members.
As Duterte declared the CPP-NPA a terrorist organization in December 2017, he also instructed DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to immediately file a petition before the Manila Regional Trial Court to classify the communist movement as a terrorist group under the HSA.
The HSA provides jail term of up to 40 years without parole for a person convicted of terrorism, which is given a heavier penalty compared to rebellion under the law.
Rebellion is punishable by reclusion perpetua or up to 40 years imprisonment, but eligible for pardon or parole, under the HSA.
The CPP-NPA has been in the US list of foreign terrorist organizations since 2002.
A 2017 report by the Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace has ranked the Philippines as the 12th country most affected by terrorist attacks from among 163 countries worldwide. /kga
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