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Manila seeks arrest of Red leaders
By Manolo B. Jara December 08, 2017
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MANILA: The government on Thursday asked a Metro Manila regional court to cancel the bail bonds and order the arrest of communist leaders following President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s declaration of the insurgents as “terrorists” Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said the government petition covered at least 32 leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing the New People’s Army (NPA) who were granted bail so they could join their comrades in the peace talks hosted by Norway as the third party facilitator.

Among the Red leaders included in the petition were Benito Tiamzon, tagged as by the military as the CPP head and his wife Wilma who were granted bail with support from the government so they could join the peace negotiations.

However, Duterte issued a proclamation formally cancelling the peace talks, followed later by his declaration that the CPP-NPA were “terrorist organisations” for their violent acts “which sow and create a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace.”

Aguirre also revealed he ordered the Office of the Prosecutor General which is under his control and supervision to petition and seek from a regional court a ruling declaring as legal the Duterte declaration of the CPP-NPA as terrorist organisations.

Aguirre explained that under the country’s Human Security Act of 2007, the government should first secure such favourable court ruling before the Duterte declaration would become effective.

Aguirre added he also ordered the chief prosecutor to seek assistance from concerned government agencies and to submit to him regular reports on the actions taken.

But he expressed optimism the government would obtain a favourable ruling from the regional court, citing the numerous evidence they have at hand to declare the CPP-NPA as terrorist organisations.

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Peter Cayetano said he would brief the diplomatic corps in the country on the Duterte declaration.

Cayetano explained the move would allow other countries to cooperate in restricting or blocking the flow of funds to the Maoists, an action taken by Duterte similar to the US declaration of the NPA as a terror group.

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