THE government has asked a Manila court to declare more than 600 people—including communist leader Jose Maria Sison, a UN special rapporteur, and leftist activists—terrorists under the Human Security Act.
The law allows law enforcers to arrest suspected terrorists without warrant and gives them the authority to detain suspects for three days.
In a petition filed Feb. 21, the Justice department asked the Manila City Regional Trial Court, Branch 19, to declare as terrorists more than 600 communist leaders and left-leaning activists.
The list included ranking Communist Party of the Philippines leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, and National Democratic Front peace negotiators Luis Jalandoni, Connie Ledesma, Randall Echanis, and Rafael Baylosis, who is already detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.
The Justice department also listed former Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo, Catholic priest Frank Fernandez, Ilocos environmental activist Sherwin de Vera, and UN special rapporteur for the rights of indigenous people Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Vicente Ladlad and Adelberto Silva.
The DoJ tagged Tauli-Corpuz as a member of the CPP’s Ilocos-Cordillera Regional Committee.
The Tiamzons were granted temporary liberty from detention in 2016 to join peace talks with the government.
Baylosis, an NDF consultant in the peace talks, was arrested in January for alleged illegal possession of firearms and explosives, a charge he has disputed.
President Duterte had earlier ordered the arrest of the NDF consultants following the termination of the peace talks.
The DoJ filed the petition following President Duterte’s Proclamation No. 374, declaring the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army as terrorist organizations, and anyone proven to be financing these groups would be held liable under the law.
Proclamation No. 374 came a week after Mr. Duterte issued Proclamation No. 360, which cancelled government’s peace negotiations with the CPP-NPA and its political wing, the NDF.
The DoJ list consisted of 461 names and 188 aliases that the government sought to have declared as “terrorists.”
Also included in the list was Jorge Madlos, the Davao-based spokesman of the NPA.
Many of those on the list were identified only by aliases such as @Boy Negro, @Kelly, @Fidel. The petition also included John Does.
Sison lashed back at Duterte, calling him the “No. 1 terrorist in the Philippines.”
“Duterte is engaged in a wild anti-communist witch-hunt under the guise of anti-terrorism. An immediate look at his list of ‘terrorists’ will show that he is running amok in slandering people as ‘terrorists.’ There are also hundreds of John Does in the list just to intimidate limitless number of people,” Sison said.
For her part, Corpuz, who served as former chairman of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues before she was named UN special rapporteur in 2014, said she will answer the baseless allegation of the government.
She was listed as an alleged member of the Ilocos-Cordillera Regional Committee.
“I will address this baseless, malicious, and irresponsible inclusion of my name even as I am consulting my lawyers on what legal courses of action to take to clear my name and even make accountable those who put my life and security at risk,” Corpuz said.
Meannwhile, the Justice department junked the criminal complaint filed by the authorities against the wife of one of the slain leaders of the Maute terrorist group.
The DoJ Task Force Marawi City chaired by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter L. Ong dropped the rebellion complaint filed by Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the Armed Forces of the Philippines-The Judge Advocate General against Najiya Dilangalen Karon-Maute for lack of probable cause.
Najiaya, wife of Mohammad Maute, who died in a battle with government forces in Marawi City, was arrested on Jan. 23, 2018 in Cotabato City.
The complaint was based on the testimony of a certain Martino Elyana, who was abducted in Padian, Marawi City. Padian said he saw Najiya and her husband bring food to members of the rebel group in the Bato Mosque in June 2017.
But the panel said in its resolution that Najiya’s act of bringing food with her husband were not overt acts of rebellion.
Also on Friday, the US government pledged to help the Bureau of Immigration in its anti-terrorism campaign by training its personnel and exchanging intelligence information on the identities and whereabouts of suspected international terrorists.
US Department of Homeland Security Undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis David Glawe made the pledge in a recent meeting with Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II and BI Commissioner Jaime Morente.
Aguirre welcomed Glawe’s visit as a positive step towards enhancing the Philippine government’s capability to effective wage the global war against terrorism. With Vito Barcelo