'Journalist, not terrorist': Satur Ocampo wants 'terrorist' tag junked

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 21 2018 07:04 PM

Former Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo hangs a rose for victims of martial law during the commemoration of the EDSA People Power revolution at Mendiola Bridge on Feb. 25, 2018. Larry Monserate Piojo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Former lawmaker and leftist leader Satur Ocampo has sought the dismissal of his inclusion in the Department of Justice's (DOJ) plea tagging several individuals as terrorists. 

In a 40-page petition filed at the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 19 on Tuesday, Ocampo denounced his inclusion on the list of alleged "known officers" of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA).

"Movant Ocampo vehemently denies he is an officer, a member or even a representative of the CPP and NPA," the petition said. 

Ocampo's petition is in response to a DOJ plea asking the court to formally cite the CPP-NPA as terrorist organizations in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration following the collapse of peace negotiations last year. 

Twelve "terror activities" and "atrocities" allegedly perpetrated by the CPP-NPA in Negros Occidental and Oriental, Surigao, Misamis, Bukidnon, Cagayan de Oro City and Davao were cited in the petition.

The former Bayan Muna party-list lawmaker maintained that he is a journalist, not a terrorist.

"The 'terrorist' tag is used to stigmatize and vilify the person of movant Ocampo, a journalist of long standing and [a] former popularly elected member and official (Deputy Minority Leader) of the House of Representatives," his petition read. 

He also argued that the court has no jurisdiction over him and that the justice department's petition failed to state a cause of action against him.

"The Honorable Court cannot indulge on the drastically erroneous premise that movant is a respondent, as there is no basis whatsoever to implead him," Ocampo's pleading said. 

Ocampo, also a former peace negotiator, criticized the justice department's petition, calling it a case of "political persecution" as he warned of potential threats to basic rights.

"Movant will certainly not allow the state's overly powerful finger to continue violating his rights, security and liberty."

Read Ocampo's full petition here: