Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Wednesday he would issue a department order creating a team from the National Prosecution Service of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to file a formal petition before the regional trial court (RTC) to legally declare the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), a terrorist group.
Aguirre expressed confidence that the lower court would grant the government’s request following President Rodrigo Duterte’s proclamation naming the CPP and NPA as terror organizations on Tuesday.
“I will issue a Department Order directing the OIC Prosecutor General of the National Prosecution Service to form a team to draft and file a petition before the RTC praying to grant the petition to declare the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization,” Aguirre said in a text message.
“I hope to file this on Monday, Dec. 11, or even earlier,” he added.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced that the President has signed a proclamation formally designating the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization.
The Palace spokesperson said the President signed the proclamation pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act No. 10168 or the Human Security Act.
Roque said that under the law, affiliate revolutionary groups of the CPP-NPA would now also be considered terrorist groups, and anyone proven to be financing them would be held liable.
Citing the pertinent provisions of RA 10168, Roque said that a designated person is “any person or entity designated or identified as a terrorist, as one who finances terrorism or a terrorist organization or group under the applicable United Nations Security Council resolution or by another jurisdiction or supranational jurisdiction and pursuant to the proclamation which implements the Human Security Act.”
“Take note that the domestic statute and the UN Security Council prohibit the giving of funds to terrorist organizations. This will enable law enforcement agencies to run after individuals who will, in any way, provide financial support to the NPA now that it has been described as a terrorist organization,” Roque said.
In his proclamation, Duterte directed the Department of Foreign Affairs “to publish the foregoing designation of CPP-NPA and other designated persons, organizations, in accordance with Sections 3 and 15 of RA 10168 and its implementing rules and regulations.”
The proclamation was issued two weeks after the Philippine government terminated peace talks with the CPP-NPA after a series of violent attacks that the President said is against humanitarian law.
Meanwhile, Roque said that due to the proclamation, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea had already issued a memorandum to Aguirre to immediately file the necessary application for the declaration of the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization with the appropriate RTC.
He said this is because a proper petition must be filed by the DOJ in court to classify the CPP-NPA as a terrorist group under the Human Security Act for the group to be considered as such under domestic laws and under relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
“This is not just in relation to Philippine domestic law but also in relation to a UN Security Council resolution intended to curtail financing of terrorist organizations,” Roque said.
Meanwhile, the DOJ has petitioned Manila RTC Branch 32 to void the temporary liberty granted to alleged CPP leaders Benito Tiamzon, his wife Wilma and Edilberto Silva.
State Prosecutors Olivia Laroza-Torrevillas and Aristotle Reyes submitted the motion on Nov. 24 after the President announced that the government was formally withdrawing from the negotiation table.
“In view of the cancellation of the peace talks, there is no more legal ground for the continuous provisional liberty of the accused,” read a portion of the petition.
“Thus, the immediate recommitment and cancellation of bail of all the accused should logically follow,” it added.
Duterte earlier said he considered the CPP-NPA as criminals after the death of a four-month old baby and two other civilians in an ambush that targeted a police convoy in Bukidnon province last month.
The CPP-NPA has been in the US list of foreign terrorist organizations since 2002. (PNA)