DOJ: Court declaration of CPP-NPA as terror orgs will allow gov't to wiretap them, freeze assets

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 03 2018 06:23 PM | Updated as of Jan 03 2018 09:41 PM

The Department of Justice (DOJ) will file before the appropriate court this January its petition for the declaration of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorist organizations, as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong, the one designated to prepare the petition, told reporters his draft constitutes 29 pages, so far, which includes at least 15 incidents involving atrocities of the two organizations despite government’s sincerity in pursuing peace talks to end a decades-long war. 

“We were able to gather evidence, we call it atrocities, they call it tactical offensives. Nagfocus kami simula sa pag-assume ni President Duterte into office… because the president extended his hand for a just and lasting peace and yet ito yung mga tactical offensives [by the CPP-NPA,” Ong said.

“We have about 15 incidents, these are very recent incidents. They committed terrorist acts that will justify designating them as terrorist organizations,” he added.

These atrocities include the communist groups in Negros Occiental and Oriental, Surigao, Misamis, Bukidnon, Cagayan de Oro City and Davao, which resulted in the deaths mainly of policemen, as well as some civilians.

The petition will also discuss the history of the communist groups “and will explain their historical tactical offensives.”

The DOJ is working with various agencies, foremost of which are the military and police establishments in the crafting of the petition.

Should the petition be granted by the court, it will have the consequence of allowing government to seek the permission of the Court of Appeals (CA) to engage in wiretapping activities against the communists, as well as apply for a freeze order on, and examination of, the bank accounts and assets of their leaders and identified members. 

Republic Act (RA) No. 9372, also known as the Human Security Act of 2007, allows the appellate court to authorize the police or any law enforcement officer to listen to, and intercept and record any communication, message, conversation, spoken or written words of a court-declared and outlawed terrorist organization or group of persons, as well as the freeze and examination of their bank accounts, placements, and assets. 

The DOJ has yet to decide where to file the petition, It may be filed with the Manila and Quezon City trial courts, which have the authority to hear cases arising from other parts of the country. 

President Duterte signed Proclamation No. 360 on November 23, 2017, declaring the termination of peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front-CPP-NPA.

“[I]n spite of the best efforts exerted by this administration, the NDF-CPP-NPA failed to show its sincerity and commitment in pursuing genuine and meaningful peace negotiations as it engaged in acts of violence and hostilities endangering the lives and properties of innocent people,” the proclamation read.

On December 5, 2017, Mr. Duterte issued Proclamation No. 374, declaring the CPP and NPA as terrorist organizations under RA No. 10168, also known as The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppresion Act of 2012.