MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has sought the declaration of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), its armed wing, New People’s Army (NPA), and at least 600 progressives as “terrorists.”
The DOJ, in a petition before the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 19 last February 21, tagged as terrorists CPP founder Jose Maria Sison, alleged ranking CPP leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace negotiators Luis Jalandoni, Coni Ledesma, Randall Echanis, and Rafael Baylosis, who is currently detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.
Former Bayan Muna Party list Rep. Satur Ocampo, Catholic priest Frank Fernandez, Ilocos environmental activist Sherwin de Vera, and United Nations special rapporteur for the rights of indigenous people Victoria Tauli-Corpuz were also named in the complaint.
Late last year, Duterte signed Proclamation No. 374, declaring the CPP and NPA as terrorist organizations following the foiled peace talks with the NDFP in November 2017.
‘Duterte no. 1 terrorist’
Sison, who is also the NDFP chief political consultant, on Thursday said President Rodrigo Duterte was “engaged in a wild anti-communist witch-hunt under the guise of anti-terrorism.”
“An immediate look at his list of ‘terrorists’ will show that he is running amok in slandering people as ‘terrorists.’ There are also hundreds of John Does in the list just to intimidate a limitless number of people,” he said in a statement.
Sison believes the list and the false accusations were related to Duterte’s scheme “to engage in the mass murder of patriots and progressives in the country, to silence all his critics and opposition to his cruel and corrupt regime and in order to realize completely his fascist dictatorship through martial rule and the railroading of a pseudo-federal constitution.”
“Duterte is truly the No. 1 terrorist in the Philippines,” he stressed.
Sison dismissed the terrorism charges as baseless, as he underscored that he had already won legal cases for the removal of his name from the European Union (EU) list of terrorists, as well as the dismissal of murder charges fabricated against him by the Arroyo regime.
“The revolutionary movement is absolutely correct in taking as forewarning the Duterte brand of propaganda and slaughter methods used in Oplan Tokhang as early as December 2016 after he clearly backed out of his pledge to amnesty and release all political prisoners and the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), PNP (Philippine National Police) and paramilitary forces repeatedly violated the prolonged ceasefire from late August 2016 to early February 2017,” he said.
Sison called on the broad united front of patriotic forces and the broad masses of the people to “wage all forms of struggle to accelerate the downfall of the Duterte regime which acts as a puppet of US imperialism under Operation Pacific Eagle-Philippines but which also double-deals with China for corrupt reasons related to overpriced infrastructure projects and high interest loans.”
“Even the US intelligence agencies now regard Duterte as a threat to democracy and human rights, despite his duplicitous and despicable efforts to keep the overall US hegemony in the Philippines and serve additional foreign masters. As far as the Filipino nation is concerned, the Duterte regime is a murderous and greedy scourge that must be eradicated,” Sison added.
‘Prelude to intensified crackdown against left’
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate likewise warned that the terrorist-tag against progressives, and the recent approval of a law granting subpoena powers to the chief of the PNP, and the director and deputy director of the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), are a prelude to an intensified crackdown on members and leaders of the progressive organizations.
“This is a virtual order of battle and clearly part of the state’s vilification campaign that the Duterte administration is continuing and raising to a new level. It is straight out of the bag off tricks of the past regimes, like the dictator Marcos and the hated Macapagal-Arroyo regimes that also tried and failed to suppress and eliminate their principled and organized critics and the opposition,” Zarate said.
“Yet, instead of being cowed, our colleagues and the other individuals listed in the DOJ suit should now have to fight back even more vigorously against these increasing tyrannical moves of the present administration. The vast majority of the Filipino people must now strive even harder and boldly to defend their rights and resist an unfolding dictatorship,” he added. (davaotoday.com)