Condemn the Duterte Government’s Terrorist Rule!

CASE BRIEF: Petition to Proscribe [Civil Case R-MNL 18-00925 CV]
The Department of Justice vs. The Communist Party of the Philippines and The New Peoples Army aka Bagong Hukbong Bayan

NATURE OF THE PETITION

On February 21, 2018, the Department of Justice (DoJ) an executive agency of the Republic of the Philippines filed a petition with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 19 of the National Capital Region against the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA). The said petition seeks to declare the CPP and NPA “as a terrorist and outlawed organizations, associations, and/or group of persons” under the Human Security Act (HSA) of 2017 (Republic Act 9372) also known as the Anti-Terrorism law.

The Human Security Act defines and penalizes terrorism under existing provisions of the Revised Penal Code and several criminal laws mainly through acts it perceives that “thereby sowing and creating a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace, in order to coerce the government to give to an unlawful demand” and “to overthrow the duly constituted authorities and to seize control of the Philippine Government through armed struggle.” It carries a penalty of forty (40) years imprisonment without the benefit of parole.

Integral to the petition is a list of 656 names that the DoJ claims to be known officers and members of the CPP and NPA. While the petition is directed to the CPP and NPA, the inclusion of the names in the said petition also seeks or has the effect to declare those named also as terrorists. Thus, it puts them at risk for warrantless arrests and detention, even torture, enforced disappearance or extrajudicial killing.

While the petition is based on a penal law i.e. the HSA, the petition for proscription is not a criminal case.  It is a civil case.  Hence, the Court shall not issue a warrant of arrest in this case for the individuals named in the petition. However, under the HSA, the government can consider said individuals as suspects of the crime of terrorism. The law allows any police or law enforcement agent to arrest and detain for three days without warrant said suspects on written authority of the Anti-Terrorism Council provided that such arrest was carried out after a Court of Appeals-authorized surveillance and examination of bank deposits. Just the same, from our experience in the cases of trumped-up charges against activists, many were arrested and detained even without a warrant with the police routinely using planted firearms and explosives.

“TERRORIST” LIST

Named in the petition are activists belonging to legitimate organizations including Indigenous Peoples (IP), notably,

  1. Victoria Tauli Corpuz, current United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, former Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples and former Chairperson of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA);
  2. Beverly Longid, current global coordinator of the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), former CPA Chair and current Advisory Council member;
  3. Joan Carling, current Member and Co-Convenor of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group for the Sustainable Development Goals, former Secretary General of the Asian Indigenous Peoples’ Pact (AIPP), and former member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues;
  4. Atty. Jose Molintas, former Asia representative to the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP), former CPA Chair and current Advisory Council member;
  5. Joanna Cariño, member of the CPA Advisory Council and Co-Chair of the SANDUGO Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self Determination;
  6. Windel Bolinget, current Chairperson of the CPA and National Co-convenor of KATRIBU National Alliance of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines;
  7. Jeanette Ribaya-Cawiding, former Chairperson of CPA-Tongtongan ti Umili and current Regional Coordinator of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers – Cordillera;
  8. Sherwin de Vera, Regional Coordinator of DEFEND Ilocos, member of the Save The Abra River Movement (STARM) and former Secretary General of the Ilocos Human Rights Alliance- Karapatan; and
  9. Lumad elders and leaders from Mindanao.

The list is largely composed of aliases and unknown persons John and Jane Does, which allows the amendment of the petition to include any other persons.

Suspiciously, “the list also contains seven names of paramilitary group members including four from the notorious New Indigenous Peoples’ Army (NIPAR), led by Alde ‘Butchoy’ Salusad, who have standing warrants for the killing of Lumad leader Datu Jimmy Liguyon” in 2012. These paramilitary claim to be former NPA and openly admitted to have surrendered to the military. Most likely, the government shall use them as state witnesses against the activists so listed.

LEGAL ACTION

The DoJ to support its petition cites several alleged documents of the CPP and NPA, and incidents, and pending criminal cases that are probably trump-up in several trial courts in the country as acts of terrorism. However, nothing in the petition proves the government’s allegation that the persons named therein are officers and members of the CPP and NPA nor does it state the involvement of said persons in the stated incidents and pending cases.

The above charges are not only false and fabricated. They are baseless and malicious with intent to harass and intimidate those listed in the petition and the people’s mass movement to submission. It is meant to cripple the people’s mass movement in the country and criminalize the legitimate struggles of the people by treating such as terrorist acts.

We appeal to all to support the campaign of activists under attack in the Philippines. You can issue statements of concern and condemnation, sign our online urgent action addressed to the Philippines President and concerned government agencies, write your government to stop military and security aid to the Philippines, and join actions here and abroad. You can also show your support by contributing to the campaign and legal defence fund.

Those listed in the petition have implemented security measures to ensure their safety and security while allowing them to continue their work and advocacy. Those who have been served with summons like Satur Ocampo and Rafael Baylosis as movants (not as respondents) filed with the Court their respective motion to dismiss.  Others where the Court has not yet gained jurisdiction over their persons (either through service of summons or publication) are in the process of consulting with lawyers on how to proceed for the dismissal of the petition, delist their names from the said list, and ensure that their life and rights are protected.  They shall definitely look into the accountability of those responsible for putting not only their lives but also those of their colleagues, families and loved ones in danger. EOF/BLL

The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) strongly condemns the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) harassment of human rights defenders in the Philippines by filing trumped-up charges against alleged terrorists.

The Government of the Philippines, through the DOJ, filed a petition in court naming over 600 leaders and activists as terrorists for allegedly “using acts of terror to sow fear and panic to overthrow the government”. Among the accused is IPMSDL Global Coordinator and CPDE (CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness) Co-chair, Beverly Longid. Beverly is an Indigenous Bontok-Kankanaey activist from Cordillera, who has served various national and international organizations and alliances upholding Indigenous Peoples’ (IP) right to self-determination and liberation.

Other Indigenous rights activists included in the petition are Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) Chairperson Windel Bolinget; SANDUGO co-chairperson Joanna Cariño; former Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) Secretary-General Joan Carling; former member of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) Jose Molintas, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Vicky Tauli-Corpuz; and at least 10 Lumad leaders from southern and northern Mindanao.

The above charges are not only false and fabricated. They are baseless and malicious with intent to harass and intimidate those listed in the petition and the people’s mass movement to submission. It is meant to cripple the people’s mass movement in the country and criminalize the legitimate struggles of the people by proscribing them as terrorist acts.

We condemn the Duterte government for filing trumped-up charges against IP and human rights defenders while protecting big businesses and landlords who steal and plunder indigenous peoples’ ancestral lands and resources.
Nevertheless, the government is gravely mistaken if it believes that intimidation and harassment will stop the people from fighting back and exercising their democratic rights. While injustice prevails and human rights are violated with impunity, there will be more human rights defenders who will rise up against tyranny.

We demand that the Government of the Philippines drop all trumped-up charges against human rights defenders be accountable for all human rights violations committed – directly through killings, torture, forced evacuations, etc.; and indirectly through the inaction and inutility of mandated government agencies such as the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. We call on our international friends and allies to stand in solidarity with us and to support the campaign to put an end to criminalization of IP and human rights activists!

STOP THE CRIMINALIZATION & HARASSMENT OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES & HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS!

FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!

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