Amended terrorist petition against CPP-NPA a “legal fiction” – NDFP

BAGUIO CITY — The chief negotiator of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) today, Jan. 18 called the amended petition to proscribe the Communist Party of the Philippine and the New People’s Army as terrorist organizations as “a piece of legal fiction with dire consequences for the people.”

In a statement, Fidel Agcaoili, chair of the NDFP negotiating panel, said they view the document as a “desperate move” of the Duterte government to establish a dictatorial regime and forego the midterm elections.

The rebels also believe the administration will force the creation of a “fake federal state with local dynasties beholden to the dictator in control of the so-called regional states.”

“The amended petition is groundless and merely a rehash of previously disproven charges in old cases, both in the Philippines and abroad, that have either been definitively resolved, dismissed with finality, and obviously prescribed or are already being contested in proceedings before GRP courts – against trumped up charges with the use of moving skeletons and manufactured witnesses as evidence,” he said.

Agcaoili disputed the links between the alleged officers of the CPP-NPA named in the amended petition and the terrorist acts claimed by the government, saying such “does not exist.”

“Such legal hocus-focus completely disregards accepted international principles and practices on due process, double jeopardy, bill of attainder, freedom of thought, and the like,” the chief negotiator added.

According to him, there is no acceptable definition of terrorism in the world, noting the Human Security Act’s (HSA) purpose is to disregard the “long established jurisprudence on the Hernandez political offense doctrine.”

Agcaoili said the petition makes the resumption of the peace negotiation “more complicated if not altogether impossible,” thus depriving the Filipino people a chance for a just and lasting peace through social and economic reforms.

He said they are troubled by the “dire and adverse impact and consequence” of the document to the organized and legitimate dissent against the government, especially to those who have been previously tagged as “terrorist.”

The Department of Justice filed an amended petition on Jan. 3, reducing the named respondents from 649 to only eight individuals. However, the new document does not exempt those who have been previously named but only “lumped, without mentioning their names, under a general allegation,” as explained by DOJ chief Merardo Guevarra on Jan. 14.

Human rights organizations and groups’ whose leaders have been included in the original petition have earlier expressed their concern on the continuing threat of the document. They believe the DOJ’s action aims to derail the proceedings to allow the government to use the HSA’s provision against critics of the government. #