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DOJ to file new CPP-NPA proscription case at Court of Appeals

The Department of Justice (DOJ) will file another proscription case seeking to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) terrorist groups, this time under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020.

In a Friday television interview, Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla backtracked from his previous statement that the DOJ would file a motion for reconsideration (MR) on a Manila Regional Trial Court's (RTC's) decision to junk their 2018 case against the CPP-NPA, saying the law used in the case had been “repealed” by Republic Act (RA) No. 11479.

The DOJ lodged its RTC proscription case under Section 17 of the Human Security Act (HSA) of 2007. It was replaced by ATA, which provides that proscription proceedings should be handled by the Court of Appeals (CA).

“The law used in the RTC is already a law repealed by the Anti-Terror Act of 2020. Appealing the case will not serve us any good or even filing an MR kasi walang batas talaga na dapat pag-usapan dito,” Remulla said on CNN Philippines.

“The law covered by the case is a repealed law. Under the new law, the jurisdiction for proscription of terrorist organizations will lie in the CA. We are now preparing for the proscription of the CPP-NPA,” he added.

On Thursday, the Manila RTC issued a 135-page resolution dismissing the DOJ’s proscription case, saying a perusal of the CPP-NPA’s program shows that it is organized not for the purpose of engaging in terrorism.

“[W]hile ‘armed struggle’ with the ‘violence’ that necessarily accompanies it, is indubitably the approved ‘means’ to achieve the CPP-NPA’s purpose, ‘means’ is not synonymous with ‘purpose’,” the court said in the resolution dated September 21, 2022.

“Stated otherwise, ‘armed struggle' is only a ‘means’ to achieve the CPP’s purpose; it is not the ‘purpose’ of the creation of the CPP,” it added.

Remulla, for his part, called the case “very peculiar”, saying the court resolution mentioned issues outside of it including red-tagging.

“It’s a proceeding where the issue was well-defined. The evidence was well-documented but when the decision came, there were facts alleged not in evidence, in the decision, not proven,” the Justice Secretary said.

“There were issues raised that were not even an issue on the cases filed, like red-tagging. I don’t see how it was tackled because it was never an issue in the case. It became a treatise on how to defend the NDF or the so-called ‘progressive movement’ - ‘yung mga taong lumalaban sa gobyerno at gustong pabagsakin ang Republika ng Pilipinas (those people fighting the government and want to overthrow the Republic of the Philippine),” he added. — Sundy Locus/DVM, GMA News