A court in the Philippines has rejected the government’s request to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing terrorists, ruling that the acts committed were more akin to rebellion than terrorism.
The government filed the petition against the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), in February 2018. If approved, it would have been authorized to assess the bank accounts of party members and leaders.
Marlo Magdoza-Malagar, president of the Manila Regional Court, said in her judgment on Wednesday that armed struggle and the use of violence were only the “means” of the CPP-NPA.
“While armed struggle with the violence that necessarily accompanies it is undoubtedly the approved means to achieve the objective of the CPP-NPA, the means are not synonymous with the end,” the court said, Benar News reported.
“Armed struggle is only a means to achieve the objective of the CPP, it is not the purpose of the establishment of the CPP,” he added.
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said Thursday his office would appeal.
The court said nine attacks allegedly committed by the CPP-NPA in the Mindanao region were “small-scale blitzes and sporadic acts of violence without victims or specified targets”, which did not cause “a widespread and extraordinary fear and panic”. .”
Among the nine attacks were the kidnapping of seven civilians in May 2019, the burning of a chapel and residential houses in May 2020 and a failed attempt to kill a teacher in October of the same year, reported Manila time.
“Terrorism is broader than rebellion; rebellion is just one of the various means by which terrorism can be committed,” he said.
“The combat strategy chosen by the CPP-NPA, which is guerrilla warfare in the context of a protracted people’s war”, may have contributed to the low impact of the aforementioned atrocities.
The court expressed concern about the government’s “red labeling” of individuals – a term used by activists to describe being labeled as communist rebels – saying membership in mass organizations does not indicate necessarily a person’s affiliation with insurgents.
One of Aisa’s longest uprisings
Emmanuel Salamat, a retired marine general who heads a government task force helping oversee efforts to end the decades-long insurgency, told reporters he was saddened by the court’s decision. because the rebels have committed acts of terrorism, including murder, for many decades.
“It’s like ignoring the sacrifices of our troops, the front-liners on the pitch, our heroes who gave their lives,” he said. He cited the United States and other countries that have listed the rebel New People’s Army as a terrorist organization.
The Maoist rebel force was established in 1969 with only around 60 armed fighters in the northern region of the country, but it has gradually grown and spread across the country.
Battle setbacks, surrenders and infighting, however, have weakened the guerrilla group, which remains a major threat to national security. The rebellion left around 40,000 combatants and civilians dead and hampered economic development in provincial regions, where the military says a few thousand insurgents are still active.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.