The Commission on Human Rights and the International Committee of the Red Cross had been asked to regularly check on the condition of three political prisoners designated by a government task force as alleged terrorists.
In a statement, political detainee support group Kapatid spokesperson Fides Lim asked the two agencies to ensure the safety of her husband Vicente Ladlad and fellow National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultants Rey Claro Casambre and Adelberto Silva.
“I have reason to fear for their lives because seven consultants of the (NDFP) have already been murdered within the last two years,” Lim said.
Lim’s appeal was in reaction to a resolution released Thursday, May 13, by the Anti-Terrorism Council designating 19 individuals as alleged members of the Communist Party of the Philippine Central Committee and as so-called terrorists.
Aside from Ladlad, Casambre and Silva, the list includes NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison, New People’s Army National Operations Command spokesperson Jorge Madlos, NDFP Negotiating Panel interim chairperson Julietta de Lima, NDFP Negotiating Panel Member Benito Tiamzon and NDFP peace consultants Alan Jazmines, Wilma Tiamzon, Ma. Concepcion Araneta-Bocala, Tirso Alcantara, Pedro Codaste, and Loida Magpatoc.
The list also includes alleged CPP officials Abdias Gaudiana, Dionesio Micabato, Myrna Sularte, Tomas Dominado and Menandro Villanueva.
Five of the NDFP peace consultants killed in the last two years referred to by Lim include Randy Malayao, Randall Echanis, Julius Giron, Eugenia Magpantay, and Agaton Topacio.
Lim said the ATC listing is being used to persecute individuals and maliciously jumping the gun on the ongoing Supreme Court deliberations on the constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
The ATC’s designation needs a court order to become official.
The CPP for its part denounced the ATC list as arbitrary, dismissing it a mere recycled record of unsubstantiated allegations from so-called military intelligence.
“The arbitrary naming of known peace consultants and revolutionaries underscore why the Anti-Terror Law and the ATC itself are illegitimate and should be repudiated. It was done in complete contempt of judicially recognized due process,” the CPP said.
“It is a veritable slap on face of the justices of the Supreme Court who have yet to complete hearings over questions of the constitutionality of the Anti-Terror Law,” the group added.
The CPP also said the ATC list is an act of treachery against the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the peace process.
“This act of the ATC is (GRP President Rodrigo) Duterte getting back at the NDFP for not bowing to his wishes for the revolutionary forces to surrender their principles to his fascist tyranny,” the CPP said.
Human rights group Karapatan also said the ATC designation of NDFP peace panel members and consultants as alleged terrorists is “red-tagging in its most blatant and most dangerous.”
The designation is “brazenly arbitrary that it violates basic principles of due process — and whose consequences have proven to be deadly,” the group said.
Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay asked the Supreme Court to act with urgency on their petitions to declare the terror law unconstitutional or at least issue a temporary restraining order against the law.
“[T]he Duterte administration is wasting no time using this draconian piece of legislation to heighten the crackdown on dissent and reign of terror. We call on the public to continue asserting the calls to junk the terror law and resist Duterte’s tyranny and dictatorship,” Palabay said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)