Tue, 12 Dec 2023

MANILA - Malacanang on Tuesday said it will let legal process run its course over the Manila Regional Trial Court's (RTC) ruling that dismissed the proscription case seeking to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA), terrorist organizations.

Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said the Palace will rely on the Department of Justice's decision to file a new petition before the Court of Appeals (CA) which has jurisdiction under Republic Act No. 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020.

"This administration will adhere closely to the rule of law and only to the rule of law. We do not endorse any illegal activities and we have relied on the statement of the Secretary of Justice (SOJ) [Jesus Crispin Remulla] saying that this particular case is to be refiled under the Anti-Terrorism Act," Cruz-Angeles said in a Palace press briefing.

She refused to give further comments, citing how the matter takes place under Anti-Terrosim Act which falls under a "different legal regime."

"We let the law take its course and allow the Judiciary to exercise its full mandate. The SOJ will be directing anyway the filing of a proscription case in the Court of Appeals as prescribed by the Anti-Terrorisms Act," she added.

In its 135-page resolution dated Sept. 21 and written by RTC Judge Marlo A. Magdoza-Malagar of Branch 19, the Manila RTC turned down the DOJ's petition for proscription that sought to declare the CPP and NPA as terrorist organizations.

The Manila RTC Branch 19 pointed out that the CPP-NPA were waging a "rebellion" and not spreading "terror."

"While the armed struggle with the violence that necessarily accompanies it is indubitably the approved means to achieve the CPP-NPA's purpose, means is not synonymous with purpose. Stated otherwise, armed struggle is only a means to achieve the CPP's purpose; it is not the purpose of the creation of the CPP," the decision read.

It also called on the government to include respect for the right to dissent, due process, and to the rule of law in efforts to counter insurgency.

The DOJ filed the proscription case in 2018 seeking to declare the CPP-NPA as a terrorist group under Section 17 of the Human Security Act (HSA) of 2007.

The HSA of 2007 has been replaced by the ATA of 2020.

Earlier, Remulla said it was "too early" to judge the Manila RTC's position that rebellion should not be considered terrorism. (PNA)

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