By RANDY FELIX MALAYAO
I welcome the removal of my name and that of 600+ others in the proscription petition filed by DOJ to declare the CPP and NPA as terror groups.
At the onset, I condemned my inclusion in the proscription list. I am not an officer or leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines nor a combatant of the New People’s Army. I am not nor have ever been engaged in any act of terrorism as cited in the said petition. I am a known grassroot social activist, active development worker, writer-journalist and a dedicated peace advocate.
I did intend to submit my legal defense at the appropriate time but has since been overcome by the latest development where there the original petition has been withdrawn and the subsequent removal of 600 plus names which included mine.
The filing of the proscription case against me and the 600 plus has already put us and the lives of our respective families at security risk and great emotional anxiety. The terror tag has also cast aspersion upon our persons and besmirched our reputations. The amended petition would also doubly put at risk and jeopardy NDF Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison and 7 others who are tagged as alleged leaders of the CPP and NPA.
The amended petition, however, is a cause for concern. For now, there is nothing to celebrate as the new petition is in fact a government ploy to railroad the process and expedite the proscription case pending before the Makati Court. All the names listed in the original proscription case could still possibly be exposed to any arbitrary measures using Republic Act No. 9372 or the Human Security Act as legal basis. Anyone could be charged arbitrarily for terrorism on the basis of alleged links to the CPP and NPA, either as an alleged leader, member or supporter.
As a peace advocate, I view the original and the newly amended proscription petition as a stumbling block in peace building. Proscription poses constraints for the CPP and the NPA to return to the negotiating table thus putting the possible resolution of the roots of the armed conflict even more difficult, complicated if not altogether impossible.
I urge the government to pursue peace, withdraw the proscription petition, stop the terror-listing and the clamping down of fundamental human rights and civil liberties. Now more than ever, amidst economic crisis and lingering poverty, peace negotiations must now be resumed on the basis of past agreements, proceed with the negotiations on socio-economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms, until the final agreement on the cessation of hostilities and disposition of forces shall have been reached. Only then shall we achieve just and lasting peace.# nordis.net