DOJ to ask court's approval to declare CPP-NPA a terror group

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 6) — The Justice Department will file a petition before a regional court to declare the communist party and its armed wing a terrorist organization.

In a text message on Wednesday, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said he will issue an order creating a team that will draft the petition  after President Rodrigo Duterte issued Proclamation No. 374, declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) a terror group.

"I hope to file this Monday (December 11) or earlier," Aguirre said.

Such a declaration needs court approval as laid down the Human Security Act.

The President's proclamation also ordered  the Justice Department to file all necessary motions to make the move official. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque stressed the court procedure gives the CPP-NPA due process and a venue to explain why they should not be declared as terrorists.

When Duterte first announced his plan to label the NPA a terror organization, some senators expressed support. They said it was long overdue because the NPA had been on the terror list of the United States since 2002.

Under the Human Security Act of 2007, a person found guilty of terrorism should be sentenced to jail  for 40 years without parole.

The crime is given heavier penalty than rebellion, which is punishable by reclusion perpetua or 20 to 40 years of imprisonment, but eligible for pardon after 30 years.

Terrorism under the law, includes rebellion, insurrection, murder, and arson, among others.

Duterte had also threatened to go on a strong offensive against militant groups.