Philippines to Declare 600 Alleged Communists 'Terrorists'?

Mar 11, 2018, 01:06
Philippines to Declare 600 Alleged Communists 'Terrorists'?

A United Nations special rapporteur, a former Philippine lawmaker and four former Catholic priests are among more than 600 alleged communist guerillas the Philippines wants declared "terrorists", according to a government petition filed in court. "The president has himself publicly intimidated special rapporteurs".

"We call on the Philippine authorities to immediately drop these unfounded accusations against Ms. Tauli-Corpuz to ensure her physical safety and that of others listed", the United Nations experts said.

Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano quickly reacted to Zeid's statement, claiming the United Nations official "may not be aware of it but he is being used in a well-orchestrated effort to destabilize a legitimate government that is being undertaken by parties with self-serving agendas and who stand to benefit the most by unseating President Duterte".

Zeid said Duterte needs "psychiatric evaluation" as he stood up for his colleagues - Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Vicky Tauli Corpuz, who the government sought to be declared as a terrorist, and Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard, who have been on the receiving end of Duterte's tirades.

"Ms Tauli-Corpuz is a human rights defender", the experts said.

"It makes one believe that the President of the Philippines needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric evaluation", Zeid said.

Roque asked Zeid to respect the country's democratic system even if Jordan is not a democratic country as his language was an insult to states with elected leaders.

"We are shocked that the special rapporteur is being targeted because of her work defending the rights of indigenous peoples", said the statement issued by Michel Frost, U.N. special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, and Catalina Devandar Aguilar, chairwoman of the coordination committee of special procedures.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte gestures during Change of Command ceremonies

"The government sees this as an opportunity to pursue people they don't like".

She was listed in a government petition, alongside others including a Catholic priest and a former congressman, that was recently submitted to a Manila court.

He said Tauli-Corpuz and the others were named in the court petition "because of their membership in or association with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army as reported over the years" by the Philippine police and military.

The NPA has waged a People's War against the Philippines government, which is called "semifeudal" and "semicolonial" for half a century.

But since peace talks failed, he instead started a campaign against the groups.

"This is of course unacceptable for a special rapporteur acting on behalf of the worldwide community whose expertise is sought by the Human Rights Council to be treated in this way", the High Commissioner said. In January, he announced he would "go after the legal fronts" - the left-wing groups that allegedly support the NPA.

Human rights activists expressed concern about the new law, saying the Philippine police force was notorious for abuses and could use the additional power to trump-up criminal charges against those critical of Duterte's administration.

"Duterte is engaged in a wild anti-communist witch hunt under the guise of anti-terrorism", he said.

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