By Ria Fernandez
Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 19 has cancelled the summons issued against activists Saturnino “Satur” Ocampo and Rafael Baylosis in relation to the petition of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army (CPP-NPA) a terror organization.
In its resolution dated July 17 and released Wednesday, Presiding Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar said Ocampo and Baylosis are “non-parties to the petition” leading him to deny the motion to dismiss filed by the two after they both received the summons in March.
This, because “neither of them, nor any other individual person was included as a party respondent” even if they were alleged to be as officers of CPP-NPA in the pleading of DOJ.
This makes the petition “not only procedurally invalid but also substantially defective for non-compliance with the basic rule that summons be directed to a defendant in a case.”
DOJ explained in its Opposition that it included Ocampo and Baylosis as addressees for the service of summons because the respondent-organization CPP-NPA has no known addresses and juridical personalities.
But the court said that DOJ failed to establish and support its allegation that indeed Ocampo and Baylosis are incumbent officers of the leftist group.
Likewise, the court declared United Nations Special Rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Jose Molintas as non-parties of the petition, noting that “ there is nothing in the Petition or its attachments” that point to them as officers of the CPP-NPA.
With this, the court directed DOJ to serve summons to CPP-NPA by publication.
The government under the Duterte Administration resumed the peace talks with the communist rebel group However, the Justice Department asked the Manila court early this year to declare the CPP-NPA as terrorist pursuant to Section 17 of Republic Act 9372 or the Human Security Act of 2007.
This, after President Rodrigo Duterte issued Proclamation 374 calling them as a terrorist organization for launching attacks in various parts of the country even if peace negotiations were on-going.