Church workers alarmed over ‘DOJ terror list’

The Ramento Project for Rights Defenders is alarmed over the inclusion of names of hundreds of progressive activists in the so-called “terror list” in the proscription petition, tagging the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army as terrorist organizations.

The proscription petition was recently filed by the Department of Justice, through prosecutor Peter Ong. According to human rights group Karapatan, the petition listed hundreds of activists, two United Nations representatives, deceased, victims of enforced disappearance, members of a paramilitary group implicated in the killing of a Lumad leader, among others are the supposed “known members and officers” of the two revolutionary organizations.

In a statement, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers president Edre Olalia said the “odd concoction” of individuals named in the so-called terror list is a “prelude to a more intense crackdown.”

“It is part of a shotgun witch hunt designed to sow and create a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace, in order to coerce the critics, dissenters, social activists, human rights defenders and revolutionaries alike to give in to the government’s repressive demand,” Olalia, a human rights lawyer, said.

Apart from those who were listed, RPRD executive director Fr. Jonash Joyohoy is equally alarmed over the hundreds of aliases, and the John and Jane Does in the said proscription petition. This, he said, could be abused and utilized by state security forces to attack and silence progressive activists.

“State security forces can easily replace these aliases with names of those who are fighting the looming authoritarian rule in the country, of those peace-loving individuals, and of those who are involved in the struggle for genuine change,” added Fr. Joyohoy.

Meanwhile, the city council of Baguio has recently passed a resolution seeking to delist human rights defenders and indigenous peoples’ rights advocates from the infamous terror list, which “did not only violate legal processes but now pose a threat to their lives and that of their friends and families.”

Fr. Joyohoy said, “at the end of the day, it is the progressives who yearn for a just society who will be subjected to this proscription petition. We must remain vigilant.” (RPRD News)

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