CPP-NPA terrorist status moves forward with Justice Department's order

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 6) — The Justice Secretary on Wednesday ordered the Office of the Prosecutor General (OPG) to file a petition to recognize the declaration of the country's communist party and its armed wing as a terrorist organization.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre instructed the Prosecutor General through Department Order 779 issued on Wednesday.

This comes a day after President Rodrigo Duterte in Proclamation No. 374, declared the New People's Army and Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) a terrorist organization. Aguirre said he will issue an order creating a team that will draft the petition for Duterte's declaration.

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

 

Under Section 17 of Republic Act 9372, or the Human Security Act of 2007, such a declaration requires the Justice Department to file a petition before a Regional Trial Court.

The court procedure gives the communists due process and a venue to explain why they should not be declared a terrorist organization, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Tuesday.

Duterte threatened that he may order the mass arrest of communist rebels.

READ: Duterte warns of NPA rebels' mass arrest

If a person or entity is charged with terrorism, they would be sentenced to jail  for 40 years without parole. The penalty is heavier than rebellion, which is punishable by reclusion perpetua or 20 to 40 years of imprisonment, but eligible for pardon after 30 years.

Rebellion, insurrection, murder, and arson may count as terrorist acts under the law.

CNN Philippines' Correspondent Anjo Alimario contributed to this report.