Jose Maria Sison, founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (File photo from the Philippine Daily Inquirer)
MANILA, Philippines — The Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 19 ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to issue a summons on Jose Maria “Joma” Sison, founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), as part of the government’s bid to declare CPP and New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorist groups.
In an order made public Tuesday, the Manila court accepted the amended petition by the DOJ, trimming down from more than 600 to only eight the individuals with direct links to the CPP-NPA.
Manila RTC Branch 19 Presiding Judge Marlo A. Magdoza-Malagar said that, aside from Sison, Mindanao Commission Secretary Antonio Cabanatan was clearly identified with the CPP-NPA.
However, because Sison is out of the country and Cabanatan’s address is unknown, the court said summons would be served through publication in a newspaper of general circulation.
“The Court hereby resolves to admit petitioner’s ‘amended petition’ and direct petitioner to serve summons to respondent organizations, through Jose Maria Sison and Antonio Cabanatan. The addresses of Jose Maria Sison and Antonio Cabanatan being unknown, service of summons shall be made by publication,” read the order.
The court, however, did not find any established links to the communist groups of the six other individuals named in the amended petition of DOJ
- Jorge Madlos of the NPA National Operations Command
- Jaime Padilla, a supposed leader of the Melito Glor Command
- Francisco Fernandez, an alleged secretary of the Negros Region Committee
- Cleofe Lagtapon, a Southeast Front head of the same committee
- Leonido Nabong, head of the Western Mindanao Regional Party Military Commission
- Myrna Sularte, secretary of the Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee
The court declared them as non-parties.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra immediately welcomed the ruling, saying it was an affirmation of the government’s position against the leaders of CPP-NPA.
“This is a positive development in our proscription case against CPP-NPA. Now the CPP-NPA has a judicially declared physical representation in the persons of Sison and Cabanatan,” Guevarra stressed in an interview.”
“The order to publish the petition is a standard procedural requirement whenever service of summons in person is not feasible or practical,” he added. /atm
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