Tuesday, March 13, 2018
BACOLOD City – Leaders of local progressive organizations slammed the Department of Justice (DOJ) after the agency tagged hundreds of individuals as terrorists through a petition before the Regional Trial Court in Manila.
DOJ’s petition, which was filed on Feb. 21, aims to classify the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army as a terror group.
Out of the over 600 individuals tagged as terrorists, 55 came from the Negros Island.
Leaders of various local progressive groups hit the Justice department during yesterday’s press conference, saying that the agency’s move was a “form of harassment and intimidation” against those who show dissent on the current administration.
The leaders, including Clarissa Singson-Dagatan of Karapatan Negros, Romulo Bito-on of Makabayan Negros, Zara Alvares of Negros Integrated Health, and Mike Concepcion of Bayan Negros, said the terrorist tag threatens not only their liberty but also their lives.
They added that the tag is a “virtual hit list” against activists.
Alvares and Bito-onon, whose names were included in the petition, alleged that armed forces make “fake charges” and use “fake witnesses” against them.
Alvares and Bito-onon, who were detained before, said they were denied due process.
Concepcion said the names included in DOJ’s petition, which was based from intelligence reports, is a “prelude to more human rights violations” under the Duterte administration.
He said President Rodrigo Duterte wants to “fast-track his dictatorial ambitions with the full support of the military and the police, his minions in Congress, judiciary, and his foreign masters.”
The leaders demanded the national government to stop the persecution of progressive group members.
Some of the other personalities included in DOJ’s petition were Frank Fernandez (National Democratic Front Negros), Isidro Castillo (National Federation of Sugar Workers), Regina Quilop (Komite Reyunal Negros), Josephine Torrecampo, Greg Tuayon, and Danilo Bertolano./PN