Attacks justify ‘terrorist’ tag on CPP-NPA – DOJ

January 4, 2018 - 6:54 AM
NPA scout standing watch
An NPA guerrilla stands guard at a rebel camp in this file photo . INTERAKSYON FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippine — The Department of Justice said “numerous” attacks by Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army in various provinces justified their declaration as terrorist groups.

Section 17 of Republic Act No. 9372 (Human Security Act of 2007) requires the DOJ to first seek clearance from the court before an organization, association or group of persons can be declared as terrorist and outlawed group.

Senior assistant state prosecutor Peter Ong, head of the panel tasked by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to file the petition, said they are close to finalizing the government resolution.

Ong said the attacks occurred as President Rodrigo Duterte was “extending his hand” and “showing good faith” in peace talks between the government and the rebels.

“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 (these offensives were the response to) peace negotiations,” Ong told reporters.

The senior prosecutor said their investigation showed the CPP-NPA did not honor the good faith and sincerity extended by the Duterte administration and instead continued their offensives.

“They committed terrorist acts that will justify … designating them as terrorist organization,” Ong explained.

The petition is expected to be filed with the court within January, Ong said, adding the DOJ is still waiting for certified copies of incident reports on the attacks.

“We listed about 15 incidents. Baka i-zero in namin ito sa (We might zero in on) 10 or 12,” he said.

Ong said among the attacks cited was the ambush of two soldiers in a storm-hit village in Catubig, Northern Samar on December 17. The soldiers, who were wounded, were part of a unit reportedly on its way to assist flood-affected residents of Barangay Hinagoyonon in Catubig.

Ong clarified that the petition will target the organizations and not individual officials like CPP founding chairman Jose Mari Sison.

“But there are implications once the petition is granted and they are declared a terrorist group. Under the Human Security Act, you can apply for judicial order for wiretapping against members of a terrorist organization. You could also apply surveillance of bank accounts or freeze their assets,” he said.

“The petition will also lay down their history. There were incidents in the past that showed a pattern,” he said.