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DOJ asks Manila court to declare CPP-NPA as terror group

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday asked a Manila court to legally declare the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) as a terrorist organization.

Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong filed a 55-page petition, excluding annexes, for proscription with the Manila Regional Trial Court.

Under Section 17 of the Human Security Act of 2007, the DOJ must first apply with a regional trial court before an organization, association, or group of persons can be declared as terrorist or outlawed organization.

President Rodrigo Duterte, in a proclamation issued in December 2017, declared the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization. It was released after Duterte terminated peace talks with the communist group.

The petition cites 12 alleged atrocities or "terrorist acts" allegedly committed by the CPP-NPA in 2017, Ong told reporters Wednesday afternoon.

The 12 incidents include ambush and kidnapping of police officers in different provinces, one of which led to the death of a four-month-old girl and one that killed a Swedish couple, an attack on members of the Philippine Army in Northern Samar, and extortion activities.

The petition said the CPP-NPA is "merely buying time by deceiving the Philippine Government in entering into peace talks, while their main purpose is to mobilize all their forces in preparation for the 'people's war' aimed at overthrowing the duly constitued authorities, seizing control of the Philippine Government and imposing a totalitarian regime."

It added that "there is no other time to put an end to their deception" except through its filing, except through its filing and the groups' subsequent declaration as terrorist and outlawed organizations.

Ong said the petition also cites the history and some declarations of the CPP-NPA.

It also contains 10 affidavits from former members of the rebel group, one of them a founding member, said the senior prosecutor, adding that some of them are willing to testify for government.

He said he was assisted in his research by the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency and the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Ong said that if the petition is granted and the CPP-NPA is consequently outlawed, the government can, through an order from the Court of Appeals, wiretap their communications system.

This is according to the Human Security Act, which also provides for the seizure, sequestration, and freezing of terrorist organizations' bank accounts.

Both the United States and the European Union have included the CPP-NPA in their lists of foreign terrorist organizations. —ALG, GMA News