Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque (Photo by JOAN BONDOC / Philippine Daily Inquirer)
Malacañang on Thursday warned the “legal fronts” of the communist rebels that conspiracy to commit a crime was enough basis to accuse them of rebellion or terrorism.
“The President as public prosecutor has said that conspiracy is sufficient basis to accuse them of both rebellion and acts of terrorism because in a conspiracy, the act of one is the act of all,” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing.
“Even if they did not physically take up arms, if they are part of a conspiracy to commit acts of terror or rebellion, then they can be held liable under the theory of a conspiracy,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte had earlier said he would issue a proclamation tagging the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) as a terrorist group.
On Wednesday night, Duterte said he would order the arrest not only communists but also the legal fronts of the rebels.
Asked if he could do this, Roque said, “Yes he can. [The] President is a former prosecutor. He knows that there can be a conspiracy to commit a crime of both rebellion and the violation of the Human Security Act because you can now be prosecuted, for acts, overt acts constituting rebellion, also for violation of the Human Security Act, where the taking up of arms is intended for the purpose of inflicting fear or terror in the minds of the general public.”
But Roque clarified this, saying not all legal fronts would be arrested.
“Not necessarily. Only what the President described as the legal front of the New People’s Army, the CPP-NPA, the legal front,” he said.
“And I think we leave it at that because those were the words used by the President. He will be advised by security forces on which of these legal fronts should be charged with conspiracy,” he added. /je
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