Philippines seeks ‘terrorist’ tag for 600 alleged communist guerrillas

Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison are among those the Philippine government wants to be declared as ‘terrorists’. (Reuters)
Updated 08 March 2018
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Philippines seeks ‘terrorist’ tag for 600 alleged communist guerrillas

MANILA: A UN special rapporteur, a former Philippine lawmaker and four former Catholic priests are among more than 600 alleged communist guerrillas the Philippines wants declared “terrorists,” according to a government petition filed in court.
The justice ministry last month announced it wanted a Manila court to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), “terrorist” organizations, but made no mention of individuals it would also target.
The petition, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, suggests President Rodrigo Duterte is following through on his threats to destroy a movement that he now regards as duplicitous.
Within weeks of taking office in July 2016, he freed some communist leaders and put leftists in his cabinet, to show his commitment to finding a permanent solution to a five-decade conflict.
But he abandoned the process in November after what he said were repeated attacks by the NPA while talks were going on.
The petition said the rebels were “using acts of terror” to sow fear and panic to overthrow the government.
Duterte has been venting his fury at the Maoists almost on a daily basis and considers them as much of a security threat as a plethora of domestic Islamist militant groups that have pledged allegiance to Islamic State.
By declaring the groups and individuals terrorists, the government would be able to monitor them closer, track finances and restrict their access to resources, among other things.
The petition included Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, appointed in 2014 as UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, who was listed as a senior member of the Maoist rebel group.
Tauli-Corpuz declined to comment on the petition until she had seen it.
Four former Catholic priests were also named in the case, including Frank Fernandez, whom the government said was an NPA leader in the central Philippines. There was no immediate comment from Fernandez.
The petition included 18 top leaders of the communist party as central committee members, including founder Jose Maria Sison and peace negotiator Luis Jalandoni, both based in The Netherlands for three decades.
Sison was a mentor of Duterte when he was at university. They are now bitter rivals, with seemingly no limit on the ferocity of their rebukes of each other.
More than 40,000 people have been killed in the Maoist rebellion. Negotiations have been on and off since being brokered by Norway in 1986.
Former congressman Satur Ocampo, who has a pending criminal case for his involvement in the murder of suspected military spies in the communist movements in the 1980s, was also on the list.
Ocampo said he would challenge any “terrorist” label.


Pakistani court convicts ex-lawmaker for substance misuse

Hanif Abbasi. (AP)
Updated 25 min 20 sec ago
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Pakistani court convicts ex-lawmaker for substance misuse

  • The Anti-Narcotics Force had registered a case against Abbasi and his accomplices in June 2012

ISLAMABAD: A court convicted a former lawmaker and candidate for the national assembly Saturday giving him a life sentence for the misuse of a controlled substance he obtained for his pharmaceutical company.
Hanif Abbasi, a leader of the former ruling party Pakistan Muslim League-N, was immediately arrested following the hearing in the garrison city of Rawalpindi after Judge Mohammad Akram Khan announced the verdict in late session.
Abbasi, the two-time lawmaker who is contesting the upcoming election from Rawalpindi, was accused of misusing 500kg of ephedrine, which he obtained for his company, Gray’s Pharmaceuticals, in 2010.
The Anti-Narcotics Force had registered a case against Abbasi and his accomplices in June 2012. ANF officials claimed the substance was sold to narcotics smugglers who used it to make drugs for partying.
Earlier in the day, an independent candidate for parliament shot himself to death after his sons disagreed with his politics.
Officer Ishfaq Khan said that Mohammad Ahmed Mughal was running for office in both the national and provincial assemblies from the central city of Faisalabad.
He said Mughal faced opposition at home as his sons supported candidates from the former ruling party Pakistan Muslim League for both seats.
Under Pakistan’s election laws, both elections in which Mughal was a candidate will be postponed and the process will start again after the regular July 25 elections.