THE DECISION to declare as terrorists 649 people allegedly affiliated with the communist rebellion in the country is now with the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 19, Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra told reporters on Tuesday in a text message.
The Department of Justice’s (DoJ) petition to tag as terrorists people allegedly connected with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), followed after CPP founder Jose Maria Sison’s announcement last week to end peace talks with President Rodrigo R. Duterte and his government.
According to Mr. Guevarra, “The petition to declare CPP-NPA-NDF (New Democratic Front) as a terrorist organization under the Human Security Act is now pending in the court. We will leave it to the court to make the final determination.”
Under Section 17 of Republic Act No. 9372, or the Human Security Act of 2007, the Department of Justice (DoJ) must get clearance from a regional trial court before any organization, association, or group of persons can be declared terrorists.
DoJ submitted its petition on Feb. 21 and included Mr. Sison, alleged CPP leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, NDF consultant Rafael Baylosis, former NDF peace panel chief Luis Jalandoni, United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, and former Bayan Muna party-list representative Satur Ocampo, among others.
Ms. Corpuz had labeled her inclusion in the list as “baseless” and “malicious.” — D.A.M. Enerio