DOJ pursuing terror tag on 600 CPP-NPA leaders
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra revealed this yesterday following the cancellation of peace talks between the government and the communist rebels set last week in the Netherlands.
Miguel de Guzman
DOJ pursuing terror tag on 600 CPP-NPA leaders
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - July 3, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) is pursuing its bid to have the courts declare over 600 persons linked to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing the New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorists.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra revealed this yesterday following the cancellation of peace talks between the government and the communist rebels set last week in the Netherlands.

“We will continue with our petition in the court, unless and until the President and the government peace panel direct us otherwise,” he told reporters, referring to the petition the DOJ filed before the Manila regional trial court (RTC) last March.

The DOJ submitted a list with over 600 personalities – including CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison, former Bayan Muna representative Satur Ocampo and UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz – that it wants to be tagged terrorists.

A former UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues chair, Corpuz was named UN special rapporteur in 2014. She founded the indigenous peoples advocacy and research group, Tebtebba Inc., and helped draft the Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples, which the UN adopted in 2007.

She decried her inclusion in the list as “baseless, malicious and irresponsible.”

Ocampo, on the other hand, is facing murder charges in the Manila RTC for his alleged involvement in the murder of suspected military spies in the communist movement in the 1980s.

Also in the list are alleged CPP leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, National Democratic Front (NDF) 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.

‘Dreaming’

Meanwhile, presidential spokesman Harry Roque yesterday said Sison must be dreaming when he announced a plan to oust President Duterte.

Roque stressed that the government is not to blame for the setback in the peace talks. 

Sison, he added, is unaware of the real situation in the Philippines because he has been in Europe too long. 

“Imagine, he wants to oust the President, that he would not be able to finish his term... Joma Sison, wake up, dream on. You cannot oust a government while you are in Europe,” Roque said at a press briefing in Leyte. 

He added that the communist leader is “having a good time” in another place and no longer knows the country’s prevailing conditions.

“Come home and live in the Philippines so you will realize that the conditions you are dreaming about will no longer happen. The economy of the Philippines is doing well and while there is still poverty, many have been freed from it,” Roque stressed.

Last week, Sison said there is no point in pursuing the peace talks with the government and that it would be easier for the NDF to join efforts to oust Duterte. He later clarified that the peace talks are still on and that only the NDF Council could decide on the termination of talks. 

Sison issued the statement after the NDF rejected Duterte’s proposal to hold the resumption of talks in the Philippines. Communist negotiators are insisting that the talks be held on neutral ground. 

Roque said it was Sison, not the government, who derailed the peace negotiations and pointed out that Duterte even agreed to free six jailed communist leaders as a gesture of goodwill.

“The President said we are Filipinos and we should talk peace here. He (Sison) was guaranteed that he would not be jailed. But Sison is really arrogant. He thinks he is the savior of the country,” he added. 

Roque said he was puzzled as to why Sison is against Duterte’s proposal to hold the talks in the Philippines. “Drop the talk. If you really want to help, come home and be part of a more comfortable nation for everyone,” he added. 

In the petition, signed by Senior Associate State Prosecutor Peter Ong, to declare the communist officers and members terrorists, the DOJ cited Republic Act 9372 (Human Security Act of 2007) in seeking the declaration of the CPP and NPA officials and members as terrorists. It accused the CPP-NPA of having an “evil plan of imposing a totalitarian regime.” – With Alexis Romero, Jose Rodel Clapano

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE NEW PEOPLE’S ARMY PEACE TALKS TERRORIST GROUP
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