Friday, March 23, 2018

Satur Ocampo wants out of DOJ ‘terror’ list

From GMA News Online (Mar 23): Satur Ocampo wants out of DOJ ‘terror’ list

Former Bayan Muna Party-list Representative Satur Ocampo has asked a Manila court to dismiss his inclusion in the petition that seeks a terrorist tag for the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA).

In a 40-page motion to dismiss filed Tuesday, Ocampo said the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 19 has no jurisdiction over his person and that the Department of Justice's (DOJ) proscription plea failed to state a cause of action against him.

Ocampo argued that he is not impleaded as a party respondent in the the DOJ's petition, assailing the "invalid and defective" summons he had received in relation to the plea.

Ocampo's name sits next to those of a United Nations special rapporteur, four former Catholic priests, and CPP founding chair Jose Maria Sison on the DOJ's list of more than 600 suspected communist guerrillas.

"Movant vehemently denounces the inclusion of his name as one of the alleged 'known officers' of the CPP and NPA in this petition and will continue to challenge and refute any allegation against him and his labeling as a 'terrorist,'" his motion states.

The petition contains no information that would show he has personal knowledge of, engaged in, committed, or participated in any of the alleged terror attacks cited in the pleading, Ocampo said.

He said a "terrorist" tag will "stigmatize" and "villify" his person, as a "journalist of long standing and former popularly elected member and official (Deputy Minority Leader) of the House of Representatives."

Echoing the common criticism of the sitting administration's actions against the Left by mass organizations, Ocampo cried "political persecution."

"This is clearly another case of political persecution targeting leaders of progressive organizations. Recycling an old tactic, the petitioner lumps together names of mass leaders, peace negotiators and consultants with the names of alleged underground revolutionary leaders of the CPP and the NPA, collectively labeling them in the petition as terrorists," the motion states.

President Rodrigo Duterte cut peace talks with the communist rebels last year and subsequently slapped a terror tag on the CPP-NPA, which has been waging one of Asia's longest running insurgencies.

In February, a senior prosecutor formally filed the proscription petition in behalf of the DOJ, in accordance with a provision of the Human Security Act of 2007 that requires the department to first apply with an RTC before an organization or group of persons can be declared as terrorist or outlawed organization.

"The delegitimization that results from the labeling of an opposition group as a terrorist justifies violent reprisal actions against its alleged members," Ocampo's motion states.

"They will most likely be treated as [an] extraordinary kind of criminals, who cannot be granted human rights that even common criminals are entitled to and who are not covered by international humanitarian law."

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