The Department of Justice will be “relentless” in its bid for a declaration of over 600 leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), as terrorists.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the government will pursue the proscription against the CPP and NPA before the Manila City regional trial court, particularly after both military and police implicated the communist rebels in the killing of nine farmers in Sagay, Negros Occidental last month.
“The President has instructed the DOJ to relentlessly pursue the proscription case against the CPP and the NPA,” Guevarra said.
He said President Duterte gave the instruction during the meeting of the executive committee of the National Security Council (EC-NSC) in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.
The Justice secretary said the government considers the massacre in Sagay an “anarchical activity” and a “threat to national security.”
The government’s proscription case suffered a setback after Manila RTC Branch 19 Judge Mario Madoza-Malagar declared Satur Ocampo, Rafael Baylosis, Victoria Lucia Tauli-Corpuz, and Melencio Molintas—who were among the 649 individuals listed by the DOJ as leaders and members of CPP and NPA—as non-parties to the case.
The case has since not moved for about three months, but Guevarra said it has not been dismissed.
“The ruling of the court pertains only to the service of summons. The court said Ocampo and the three others cannot be summoned because the subjects of the case are groups and not individuals. It had nothing to do with merits of the petition,” Guevarra said.
“The DOJ just submitted the names of certain persons identified by our intelligence agencies as having links with the CPP and the NPA, in the hope that these people will answer the petition on behalf of the respondent organizations,” he added.
After the RTC ruled that individuals cannot be summoned for the proscription case, the DOJ chief said the prosecutors “will just have to resort to causing the service of summons by publication” as directed in the RTC ruling due to government’s lack of knowledge on the official addresses of the CPP and NPA.
The DOJ filed before the Manila RTC last March the petition seeking to declare communist leaders and their armed members terrorists.
The department submitted to the court a list of names and aliases of 649 people, including Ocampo, Baylosis, Corpus, Molintas, and CPP founding chair Jose Maria Sison, it tagged as terrorists.
Also on the list are alleged CPP leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, former peace panel chief Luis Jalandoni, human rights lawyer and former Baguio City councilor Jose Molintas and Cordillerans Joanna Carino, Windel Farag-ey Bolinget, Sherwin De Vera, Beverly Sakongan Longid and Jeannette Ribaya Cawiding.
The petition was filed following the termination of the peace talks between the government and the CPP in November 2017.
In its petition, the DOJ cited Republic Act 9372 (The Human Security Act of 2007) in seeking the declaration of the CPP and NPA officials and members as terrorists.
The petition accused the CPP-NPA of having an “evil plan of imposing a totalitarian regime.”
Guevarra has also tapped the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct a parallel probe on the killing of nine farmers in Hacienda Nene in Sagay last Oct.20.