By Nelson Flores, Ll.B., MSCK
THE Philippine justice department wants the leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army as well as a number of prominent activists, including a United Nations special rapporteur, to be judicially tagged as communist terrorists, a label already used by the military to identify communist revolutionaries.
According to a Philippine Daily Inquirer report, the Department of Justice filed a petition before the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 19 last February 21, seeking a judicial declaration identifying more than 600 individuals as communist terrorists (CTs).
Reportedly included in the list are CPP founder Jose Maria Sison, alleged ranking CPP leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, and National Democratic Front (NDF) peace negotiators Luis Jalandoni, Coni Ledesma, Randall Echanis, and Rafael Baylosis, who is currently detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.
Also allegedly in the list were former Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo, Roman Catholic priest Frank Fernandez, Ilocos environmental activist Sherwin de Vera, and UN special rapporteur for the rights of indigenous people Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, who is said to be an alleged member of the CPP’s Ilocos-Cordillera Regional Committee (ICRC).
The Inquirer further reported that the petition stemmed from President Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation No. 374, declaring the CPP and NPA as terrorist organizations. Under the same proclamation, anyone proven to be financing these groups would be held liable under the law.
Duterte issued Proclamation No. 374 a week after he canceled the government’s peace negotiations with the CPP-NPA and its political wing, the National Democratic Front (NDF).