National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) Executive Director Emmanuel Salamat claimed that the international community had “already made a strong statement” and taken a “position” declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New Peoples’ Army (NPA), as a terrorist group.
This needs context.
In an interview, ABS-CBN News Channel anchor Karmina Constantino asked Salamat for NTF-ELCAC’s reaction to the Manila trial court’s decision to junk a petition of the Department of Justice to declare the CPP-NPA as a “terrorist” group.
“Even the international community made a strong stance against the Communist Party of the Philippines as a foreign terrorist organization. That’s the funny part. We are here in the Philippines is telling (sic) that the CPP-NPA is not a terrorist organization while, in fact, the other organization, the international community, has already made a strong statement, and even position, that they are (sic) a terrorist group.”
Source: ANC 24/7 Official Youtube Channel, NTF-ELCAC reacts as court junks case vs CPP-NPA | ANC, Sept. 22, 2022, watch from 1:05 to 1:43
Some countries such as the United States, New Zealand and Australia have labeled the CPP-NPA, singly or together, as a terrorist group. The United Kingdom and the European Union have also declared the CPP-NPA as a terrorist entity. However, other countries’ declaration of an entity as “terrorist” is not part of the Philippines’ requirements to designate groups as “terrorist” under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020.
“In fact, the Supreme Court itself struck down that particular part of the (ATA) where it said that the Philippine government can adopt [the request for designation] of other national entities, international entities, even supranational entities,” said lawyer Edre Olalia, interim president of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and president of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, in a phone interview with VERA Files Fact Check.
The Supreme Court struck down in December last year two parts of the ATA for being unconstitutional. The magistrates, voting 9-6 vote, said the second paragraph of Section 25 of the ATA is unconstitutional, specifically:
“Request for designations by other jurisdictions or supranational jurisdictions may be adopted by the AT after determination that the proposed designee meets the criteria for designation of UNSCR No. 1373.”
The high court noted that there are “no proper procedural safeguards and remedies for an erroneous designation (of a person or a group as terrorist)” made under such kind of requests.
On the Manila Regional Trial Court decision
In its petition, the Justice department cited nine incidents of alleged atrocities committed by the NPA, but the Manila Regional Trial Court rejected these, saying:
“None of the evidence presented by the petitioner gives any impression that these incidents fall within the category of acts officially sanctioned by the respondent organizations.”
Source: Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 19, Department of Justice vs. The Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (p. 115), Sept. 21, 2022
The court explained that while it does not dismiss or minimize the lives lost in the incidents, none could be characterized as causing “widespread and extraordinary fear and panic.”
Acts that sow and create a condition for “widespead and extraordinary fear and panic” are criteria for terrorism established in the now repealed Human Security Act of 2007 on which the DOJ based its petition.
Have you seen any dubious claims, photos, memes, or online posts that you want us to verify? Fill out this reader request form.
ANC 24/7 Official Youtube Channel, NTF-ELCAC reacts as court junks case vs CPP-NPA | ANC, Sept. 22, 2022
- United States Department of State, Foreign Terrorist Organizations, Accessed Sept. 27, 2022
- New Zealand Police, Alphabetical list of Designated Terrorist Entities in New Zealand pursuant to UNSC Resolution 1373, Accessed Sept. 27, 2022
- New Zealand Police, Designated Entities (Terrorism Suppression Act 2002), Aug. 28, 2022
- Federal Register of Legislation (Australia), Charter of the United Nations Act 1945 Listing Declaration (No. 2) 2019, Sept. 17, 2019
- Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (United Kingdom), CONSOLIDATED LIST OF FINANCIAL SANCTIONS TARGETS IN THE UK, Sept. 28, 2022
- Eur-Lex (European Union)
Philippine Supreme Court Public Information Office Official Twitter Account, MEDIA ADVISORY, Dec. 9, 2021
Supreme Court of the Philippines, G.R. No. 252578, et al. Dec. 7, 2021, Feb. 15, 2022
Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 19, Department of Justice vs. The Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army, Sept. 21, 2022
Official Gazette of the Philippines, Republic Act No. 9372, March 6, 2007
(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)