By Jeffrey Damicog
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II expects state lawyers to file before the regional trial court (RTC) within the week the petition seeking to declare as terrorists the Communist Party of the Philippines (CCP) and its armed wing the New People’s Army (NPA).
“Kasi (Because) we have to prepare very carefully the petition,” explained Aguirre considering it’s been almost a month since President Duterte declared the CPP-NPA as terrorists.
As part of the preparations, the secretary said Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors have sought the help of the intelligence community.
“Our DOJ prosecutors led by the head of task force, prosecutor Peter Ong, has been meeting with the intelligence people katulad ng (like) NICA (National Intelligence Coordinating Agency), ISAFP (Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines) and other intelligence agencies of the government,” he said.
On December 6, the secretary issued Department Order (DO) No. 779 which directed the Office of the Prosecutor General (OPG) “to file the necessary application or petition organization with the 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) 9372, otherwise known as the ‘Human Security Act of 2007’.”
“The OPG is also directed to request assistance from the concerned agencies to submit regular reports of the actions taken in the implementation of this order,” Aguirre also stated in his order.
“This order shall take effect immediately and shall remain in force until further orders,” he added.
Aguirre gave the directive after the President on December 5 issued a proclamation classifying the CPP and NPA as “terrorist groups.”
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque had explained that the proclamation declaring the CPP and the NPA “as a designated, identified terrorist organization” falls under the Human Security Act.
Under the Human Security Act, Roque explained that any person or entity designated or identified as a terrorist finances terrorism, or terrorist organization or group under the applicable United Nations Security Council Resolution or by another jurisdiction or supranational jurisdiction.
However Roque clarified that the proclamation to declare the CPP-NPA as terrorist groups has to go through a legal process before it could even officially take effect.
Because of this, Roque said the DOJ has to file the necessary application for the proscription or the declaration of the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization with the appropriate RTC.
“So because of the proclamation, the secretary was directed by the executive secretary to file a petition in the RTC because it is not automatic that just because the executive has classified the group as a terrorist organization it will be considered as a terrorist organization under the domestic law and under relevant security council resolutions,” he explained.