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Monday, September 23, 2019

Court declaration needed to tag communists as terrorists

THE Department of Justice (DOJ) admitted on Thursday, January 11, that declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA), as a terrorist group is a long process.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said his department is set to file a formal petition before a regional trial court this coming week to legally declare members of the CPP and NPA as terrorists.

"In the coming week, it (petition against the communist insurgents) will be filed," he told Palace reporters.

"It is a full-blown trial, I believe. That's why, we can't rush it. We can't rush it. They (DOJ's prosecutor team) have to gather all the instances where terroristic activites could be attributed to the NPAs," he added.

On December 5, 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation 374, classifying the CPP and NPA as terrorists following their acts considered as a "crime against the Filipino people, against humanity, and against the law of nations."

The proclamation was issued after Duterte signed Proclamation 360 on November 23, 2017, declaring the end of the peace negotiations with the CPP's political wing, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

Section 17 of Human Security Act of 2007 mandates the DOJ to first file a petition before a competent regional trial court before any organization can be declared as a terrorist group.

Aguirre recently formed a team of prosecutors to file such a complaint in court.

To win the petition against the communist insurgents, the DOJ earlier said it cited in the petition the numerous ambuscades perpetrated by the NPA rebels as acts of terrorism. (SunStar Philippines)
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