A MANILA court has ordered the dismissal of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) petition seeking to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-New People’s Army (NPA) as a terrorist group.In a 135-page resolution, Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 19 presiding judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar said the perusal of the foregoing program of the CPP-NPA showed that their organization or existence is “not for the purpose engaging in terrorism.”“While ‘armed struggle’ with the ‘violence’ that necessarily accompanies it, is indubitably the approved ‘means’ to achieve the CPP-NPA’s purpose, ‘means,’ is not synonymous with ‘purpose.’ Stated otherwise, ‘armed struggle’ is only a ‘means’ to achieve the CPP’s purpose; it is not the ‘purpose’ of the creation of the CPP,” he wrote.In February 2018, the DOJ filed a proscription case to declare the CPP-NPA a terrorist group based on the Section 17 of the Human Security Act (HAS) of 2007.In January 2020, the court dismissed the petition due to the DOJ’s failure to prosecute with the court, citing that “despite the lapse of a considerable length of time, the petitioner had not yet caused the service of summons by publication.”Malagar, a month later, granted the motion for reconsideration filed by the DOJ, citing the higher interest of justice.The court assessed nine incidents allegedly committed by the CPP-NPA to identify if they will qualify as acts of terrorism.The incidents include the following:* The killing of Bontola Mansinugdan in Agusan del Sur on December 31, 2019* The killing of Datu Astudillo and Zaldy Ibañez in Sitio Inadan, Barangay Magroyong, San Miguel, Surigao del Sur on March 19, 2020* The ambush of Datu Jumar Bucales and company in Sitio Mamprasanon, Barangay Banahao, Lianga, Surigao del Sur on October 4, 2020* The killing of Datu Jomar Engayas in Sitio Sangay, Barangay Libas-sud, San Miguel, Surigao del Sur on July 6, 2020* The killing of 70-year-old Datu Benedicto Dinoy in Dumalaguing Village, Impasugong, Bukidnon in August 13, 2020* The burning of chapel and residential houses in Barangay Limunda, Opol, Misamis Oriental on May 28, 2020* The abduction of seven civilians, including Ryard Badiang who was later beheaded, in Barangay Maitum, Tandag City, Surigao del Sur on May 30, 2019* The killing of Datu Saidor Balansi at Sitio KM 18, Barangay Besigan, Cagayan de Oro City on July 21, 2020The court said it finds the acts of the CPP-NPA to have been committed to achieve a political purpose and directed at state agents and not against civilians.“After consideration, this Court finds none of the (9) incidents of atrocities which are allegedly committed by the NPA against civilians can be said as having caused widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the Philippine populace,” it noted.“The nine incidents of atrocities having had only minimal impact on the larger population can therefore only be considered a ripple in a much larger pond, certainly far from reaching the ‘widespread’ or ‘extraordinary’ proportions sufficient to ‘coerce’ the government to give in to any demand, much less, an unlawful demand,” it added.Malagar said the nine incidents also did not meet the stringent requirements of HAS of 2007 and that it can only qualify as incidents of rebellion.He said the only incident that would come close to a “terrorist act” by the CPP would be the Plaza Miranda bombing in 1971 prior to the effectivity of the HAS of 2007.The court, on the other hand, maintained that red-tagging or linking a person to the organization poses danger to an individual.It pointed out that:* A member of an organization which is identified to be an NDMO (above ground legal organization) is not always a member of any of the UGMOs (underground organization), much less, of the CPP-NPA;* Not all members of an organization identified to be an NDMO espouse the radical view of overthrowing the present government by armed struggle. (SunStar Philippines)