Anti-communist task force gathering evidence to formally tag CPP, âalliesâ as terrorists

Members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-Metro Manila march along Recto Avenue in Manila to celebrate the 2nd CPP Congress and urge the people to join the New People’s Army. EDD GUMBAN, file     

Anti-communist task force gathering evidence to formally tag CPP, ‘allies’ as terrorists

Xave Gregorio (Philstar.com) - October 23, 2020 - 12:06pm

MANILA, Philippines — The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) said it is “consolidating” evidence against the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its supposed allies for them to be formally tagged as terrorists under the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act.

“We are consolidating evidence to support the designation of this Communist Party of the Philippines as a terrorist organization including all its alliances,” NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. told ANC’s Headstart on Friday.

Parlade also said, “We’re just waiting for this designation and proscription of these organizations to be proscribed as terrorist organizations.”

During the interview, Parlade accused the women’s party Gabriela, youth organizations Anakbayan and League of Filipino Students, labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno, human rights group Karapatan, thinktank IBON Foundation, and lawyers’ group National Union of People’s Lawyers as “legal fronts” of the CPP.

These organizations have routinely denied the charge, which is frequently brought up against them by military and government officials.

Support for and even membership in activist groups is not the same as taking up arms against the government.  

Under the heavily challenged Anti-Terrorism Act, the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) will automatically adopt the United Nations Security Council Consolidated List of designated terrorists and their financiers. 

Members of radical Islamist groups such as Al Qaida, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, Rajah Solaiman Movement, Abu Sayyaf Group and Jemaah Islamiyah are in the UN list, but not the CPP.

The European Union, however, has designated the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), as terrorists.

The Anti-Terrorism Act provides that the ATC may adopt requests for designation by other countries or supranational entities, such as the EU, as long as the person or organization to be designated meets the criteria under United Nations Security Council Resolution No. 1373.

Assets of individuals or groups who will be designated as terrorists will be frozen, as provided under the Anti-Terrorism Act. Under the law’s implementing rules and regulations, the names of those designated as terrorists will also be published online.

Proscription, meanwhile, is the declaration by the court that a group is outlawed due to terrorist activities. This is initiated by the Department of Justice (DOJ), authorized by the ATC upon the recommendation of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.

Under the law, a court may preliminarily proscribe a group as a terrorist organization within 72 hours after the DOJ’s application if it has determined that probable cause exists and that the issuance of the order is necessary to prevent the commission of terrorism.

“It’s very clear being members of this terrorist organization or recruiting people to be members of these organizations or being part of these preparatory acts … you will be liable in this law,” Parlade said.

Propaganda war?

Parlade landed in hot water yet again for issuing veiled threats against actress Liza Soberano after she spoke at a webinar hosted by Gabriela Youth.

In a statement posted on the official Facebook page of NTF-ELCAC, Parlade said Soberano still has a chance to “abdicate” the group and that if she does not, she will “suffer the same fate Josephine Anne Lapira,” a communist rebel who was killed in an encounter with soldiers.

For Parlade, this is just part of a propaganda war the government is waging against communist rebels and refused to apologize to Soberano.

“Now the government understands that this is actually political warfare, you have to engage the propaganda machinery of the CPP, the enemy, the threat,” he told ANC.

But for Akbayan chair emeritus Etta Rosales, Parlade’s red-tagging is just plain abuse.

“Abuse is abuse, whether it is from the NPA or the military. Akbayan will not tolerate either,” Rosales said in a statement.

“We will not allow our consistent stand against the atrocities and abuses of non-state actors to be exploited by irresponsible military leaders to threaten and red-tag civilians, much more muzzle the voice of legitimate dissent,” she said, in response to being tagged by Parlade as a “good left group.”

Akbayan is part of a separate formation from those affiliated with Bagong Alyansang Makabayan. — with a report from Jonathan de Santos

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