MANILA — The Department of Justice (DOJ) has ordered the Office of the Prosecutor General (OPG) to file a formal petition before the regional trial court (RTC) to legally declare the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) a terrorist group.
“The Office of Prosecutor General is directed to file necessary application or petition organization with appropriate court for the proscription or declaration of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army as a terrorist organization pursuant to Republic Act (RA) NO. 9372, otherwise known as “Human Security Act of 2007”,” Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said in his Department Order no. 779 dated December 6, 2017.
Under Section 17 of Republic Act No. 9372, or the Human Security Act of 2007, the DOJ must first seek clearance from the court before an organization, association or group of persons could be declared a terrorist and outlawed group.
The OPG will also request assistance from the concerned agencies and to submit regular reports of the actions taken in the implementation of the order.
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.
On Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced that the President has signed a proclamation formally tagging 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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.