PNP says amended Human Security Act could also be used to battle NPAs

Published August 17, 2019, 12:13 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Aaron Recuenco 

As opposition to the revival of the Anti-Subversion Law mounts, the country’s top police official said an amended Human Security Act can also be used to address the problem on Communist insurgency.

Philippine National Police Chief Director Oscar Albayalde (Kevin Tristan Espiritu / MANILA BULLETIN)
Philippine National Police Chief Director Oscar Albayalde
(Kevin Tristan Espiritu / MANILA BULLETIN)

Gen. Oscar Albayalde, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said that if approved, an amended Human Security Act would complement the move to tag the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA) as terror groups.

“I think this will be a good measure to address the problem on insurgency plus, of course, the move to tag the CPP-NPA as terrorist groups,” said Albayalde.

“If they are tagged as terrorist groups, then they will be covered by the Human Security Act already, and whoever would give support to them, they will be charged and liable,” he explained.

The move to classify the CPP and the NPA as terror groups was already forwarded to the Department of Justice (DOJ), according to Albayalde.

One of the amendments to the Human Security Act being pushed by the PNP will be to prolong the holding of a terror suspect from 48 hours to at least one month.

For the past few weeks, the government has been very aggressive in running after the CPP-NPA which has been waging more than five decades of armed struggle against the government.

In the provinces, the government is using localized peace talks to encourage rebels to surrender. So far, more than 1,000 Communist rebels have reportedly surrendered.

Government officials are also tightening the noose on militant groups, which they have tagged as legal fronts of the NPA, particularly on their alleged recruitment in schools.

Recently, the PNP supported Interior Secretary Eduardo Año when he made a proposal to revive the Anti-Subversion Law, or Republic Act 1700, to strengthen the fight against the NPA.

But even Albayalde admitted that the Anti-Subversion Law could be prone to human rights abuses like what happened in the past.

“We don’t want it to be abused again so there should be provisions that should be looked into if these will serve as loopholes by our law enforcers,” said Albayalde.

Read more: PNP calls for revival of anti-subversion law to end Communism; CPP-NPA hits back