NAPC's Liza Maza to DOJ: CPP-NPA not terrorists

MANILA, Philippines – National Anti-Poverty Commission Lead Convenor Liza Maza on Wednesday, March 14, decried the Department of Justice's petition tagging members of the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army (CPP-NPA) as terrorists.

In a statement, Maza said the February 21 petition filed by the DOJ contains list of names including peace negotiators, leaders and members of legal organizations, human rights workers, community organizers, former Catholic priest, and activists.

"Such a 'terror list' is inconsistent with the administration's promise to provide space for the democratic participation of the people and their organizations," Maza said on Wednesday. (READ: The Left’s unity and struggle with Duterte)

"I fear that this list may be used to intimidate and harass individuals and organizations whose legitimate causes are pushing for an agenda of change. We cannot allow such irreparable damage to the prospects of resuming the peace talks," she added.

Maza also urged the DOJ to withdraw the petition and called for the resumption of peace negotiations. (READ: Duterte's falling out with the Left)

"At a time when Filipinos are clamoring for a long-awaited end to our country's many long-standing woes, such as poverty, there is simply no place for persecution and intimidation," she said.

Maza noted that the government should ensure space for "meaningful and democratic" participation of the people.

"Only then can the country move closer once again to achieving just and lasting peace," she added.

DOJ filed a petition before the Manila Regional Trial Court seeking to declare CPP-NPA as terrorists, citing Republic Act 9372 or the Human Security Act of 2007. The petition accused CPP-NPA of having an "evil plan of imposing a totalitarian regime."

The petition marked the end of President Rodrigo Duterte's romance with the reds, after peace talks that have since failed. –

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.