Government bid to declare CPP-NPA terrorist groups hits legal snag in Manila court 

THE Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila City has recalled the summons it issued against United Nations special rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and several others compelling them to appear on the proceedings pertaining to the petition filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) seeking to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) as terrorist organizations.

A 14-page resolution issued by Manila RTC Branch 19 Presiding Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar said the summons were wrongly issued to Corpuz and other alleged CPP-NPA members and officers identified as former Bayan Rep. Satur Ocampo, communist consultant Rafael Baylosis and Jose Melencio Molintas, officer of CPP-NPA under the Ilocos Cordillera Regional Committee (ICRC).

The court held that the alleged CPP-NPA officers were not properly impleaded in the case, thus, prompting it to recall the summons issued against them.

The court pointed out that the subject of the prayed-for declaration is the CPP-NPA as an organization, association or group of persons, thus, neither Ocampo or Baylosis can be considered a party-respondent in the petition.

It also did not give weight to the argument of the DOJ that the inclusion of the names of Ocampo and Baylosis in the body of the petition and tagging them as officers of the CPP-NPA was because the organizations have no known addresses and have no juridical personalities and, therefore, can be served with summons through the two alleged officers.

Instead, the court gave credence to the denials of Ocampo and Baylosis that they have links with the CPP-NPA, either as members and officers. “In this case, Ocampo and Baylosis had done more than give notice of severance of their association with the CPP-NPA; they had denied being actually members or officers of said respondent-organizations,” the resolution said.

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Joel R. San Juan

A UST journalism graduate, has been working as a reporter for more than 20 years.
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