"A persistent insurrection that’s still vigorously resisted by most of our people"
Lately, various showbiz personalities have been stepping forward on behalf of the “Makabayan” party-list bloc. Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, who ordered anti-communist streamers to be torn down the other week, joined the equally fetching likes of Lisa Soberano and Angel Locsin.
With the feasts for all saints and all souls now behind us, let’s see if these party-lists deserve the mordant name of “Kamatayan bloc” that the military has bestowed on them.
Who says they’re terrorists?
At least half a dozen other countries from around the world say that about the CPP-NPA. Let’s zero in on just a few:
In the United States, on Aug 20, 2002, President Bush issued EO 13268 that singled out “Jose Maria Sison (CPP/NPA)” and “New People’s Army/Communist Party of the Philippines (NPA/CPP)” as terrorists.
Two decades later, the Council of the European Union, on January 13, 2020, updated its list of “entities subject to…the application of specific measures to combat terrorism” to again single out the “Communist Party of the Philippines, including New People’s Army–NPA, Philippines”.
A year earlier, on June 20, 2019, in a report to the UN General Assembly on “Children and Armed Conflict”, the Secretary-General said the UN had received allegations of NPA involvement in three child casualties and eight instances of child recruitment. The NPA was also included among “listed parties that have not put in place measures…to improve the protection of children”.
So don’t take our government’s word for it. Ask those other countries. As for the complicity of the NDF with the CPP-NPA, you can refer to an earlier column of mine (“The walking dead”, Sept 15).
What are terrorists?
President Bush’s earlier EO 13224, issued right after 9/11, defined terrorism to be “an activity that (1) involves a violent act or an act dangerous to human life, property, or infrastructure; and (2) appears to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, kidnapping, or hostage-taking”.
This definition hews pretty closely to our own anti-terrorism law, R.A. 11479, signed by Duterte last July 3. In fact, what may be more instructive is to look at what is NOT included as terrorism, under the law’s IRR that were released just three weeks ago, on October 14:
“Rule 4.4. When not intended to cause death or serious physical harm to a person, to endanger a person’s life, or to create a serious risk to physical safety, the following activities shall not be considered acts of terrorism: advocacy; protest; dissent; stoppage of work; industrial or mass action; creative, artistic, and cultural expressions; or other similar exercises of civil and political rights.”
It seems obvious that an armed insurrection isn’t covered by this qualification. The NPA’s sympathizers like to reply that what they’re waging isn’t terrorism, but a rebellion that thereby is somehow legitimized. But let’s look at how many of our people have in fact already rejected the CPP-NPA as persona non grata (as of last September 6):
• 64 out of 81 provinces (79 percent of total)
• 110 out of 146 cities (75 percent)
• 1,121 out of 1,488 municipalities (75 percent)
• 21,474 out of 42,046 barangays (51 percent)
I don’t see a popular rebellion from these numbers. I see a persistent insurrection by a small minority that continues to be vigorously resisted by most of our people.
Is ‘red-tagging’ a crime?
This question was settled as far back as Nov 10, 2015, on PNoy’s watch. A virtual rogues’ gallery of the Left had petitioned the Supreme Court for writs of amparo and habeas data. But the High Court ruled that:
“…Petitioners failed to substantially prove that their life, liberty and security are threatened with violation…In the present case, the allegations of petitioners do not even constitute circumstantial evidence as to justify the issuance of the extraordinary writs.”
Fast forward to four years later, under Duterte. On June 28, 2019, the Court of Appeals came out with a similar ruling denying the same writs petitioned by Karapatan, Gabriela, and Rural Missionaries of the Philippines. The Court opined that:
“There is no evidence of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests, malicious prosecutions and defamations…The writs cannot be issued on amorphous and uncertain grounds lest their purpose be undermined by the indiscriminate filing of petitions on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations.”
* * *
The NDF is nothing if not persistent. That’s their revolutionary passion at work.
Thus, when you’re being pulled here and there by the rants and raves of ideologues, it’s always a good idea to go back to the basics: to the facts, to our laws and courts, to the simplicity of common sense and logic.
Readers can write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.