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MOREOVER, Regional Trial Court Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar’s decision that the Communist Party-New People’s Army are not terrorists reveals her total ignorance of what terrorism is and/or her bias for the communist insurgents. The Supreme Court should investigate this debasement of our justice system.
If the following isn’t absurd, I don’t know what is: Malagar claims that the reports of thousands of Filipinos killed by the CPP-NPA since their founding in the late 1960s are based on hearsay, which she cannot consider in her decision as these “have no probative value.”
She says, without explaining the criteria she used, that only nine incidents involving the killing of civilians — occurring only in 2019 and 2020 — can qualify as terrorist acts. However, practically in the same breath, she claims these can’t make her rule that the CPP-NPA are terrorists since the definition of terrorism is that such acts must be “widespread.”
She claims the nine cases involve only 10 Filipinos killed, which therefore can’t be described as “widespread” since “based on year 2020 data, [there are] 109,035,343 Filipinos living in the country.” Therefore, she can’t rule that the CPP-NPA are terrorists. I can’t believe we can have court decisions this absurd.
Forty-two pages of the 135 pages of the decision described in detail over a hundred incidents involving CPP-NPA killing of military and police personnel, of civilians who refused to join them and even their torture and execution of over a thousand of their own members, wrongly suspected of being spies. Each incident described was footnoted as to the basis of the information, which were testimonies of former CPP-NPA cadres as well as the official reports of the police and the military.
Indeed, my hair stood on end as I read the details of how the NPA tortured, executed and buried alive in shallow graves their own comrades — 3,000 men and women by one estimate — in several waves of paranoia that their ranks were heavily infiltrated. I had read years back first-hand accounts of these and even interviewed the victims, but Judge Malagar’s decision had many more gory details about this very tragic episode of the insurgency. The account of the Plaza Miranda bombing — the first terrorist attack in our country — related in the ruling is the most detailed and complete that I have read.
Government prosecutors did their homework well, providing the judge with a hundred documented cases proving that the CPP-NPA had committed terrorist acts since its emergence in the late 1960s, and therefore is a terrorist organization. Indeed, the government’s information office should extract those parts reporting the insurgents’ terrorist attacks to make up a handbook to distribute widely that every adult Filipino should read.
However, Malagar threw out this documented evidence submitted by the government in just three sentences.
In the decision, the following was the last to be described out of the NPA’s atrocities, in page 96 of the ruling: “The 17 December 2017 ambush of personnel of the 20th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, who were conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations to victims of tropical storms [that hit Samar].”
I was stunned when I read the sentence immediately after that: “The foregoing documentation notwithstanding, these incidents of atrocities allegedly committed by the CPP-NPA against the police and military personnel were not testified to by eyewitnesses. For this reason, the documentary evidence pertaining thereto can only be classified as hearsay evidence.”
This is so blatantly wrong, as most of these accounts were based on battle and incident reports of the military and the police, and testimonies. There are even two books that related the episodes of the CPP-NPA’s killing of their own, with the two authors narrowly escaping execution.
As I have reported in a previous column, the military and the police keep detailed records of their men killed in action, as these are the basis for the death benefits of their heirs. According to the official reports of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, from 1975 to 2015 (data after that is unavailable), the CPP-NPA killed 13,000 of our uniformed men. Malagar in effect claims that these official reports of military casualties are hearsay, and the government was fooled when it granted death benefits to at least 13,000 who were never killed by the NPA.
Following Malagar’s logic, if the 13,000 were indeed victims of CPP-NPA terrorist acts — or even 30,000 which is my estimate of those killed by the insurgents up to 2022, including civilian and police killings — these can’t be “widespread,” a required definition of terrorism, as these (using the 30,000 figure) make up only 0.03 percent of the population, hardly a percentage to claim the terrorist acts were “widespread.” In Malagar’s absurd framework, only if the CPP-NPA kills a million Filipinos could they be tagged as terrorists, with a million representing 1 percent of the population.
If the NPA attacks Congress, Malagar’s crazy logic would claim it isn’t a terrorist attack since no such attack occurred in Mindanao and the Visayas, and therefore is not “widespread.” Not only that. She says in another line of argument, this isn’t terrorism since it has a purpose (the CPP’s capture of power) and a demand (for government to yield). Terrorists, she says, have no purpose nor demand.
In Malagar’s outrageous thinking, the jihadist al-Qaida can’t be classified as a terrorist organization since its 9/11 attack that demolished New York’s Twin Towers, killed only 3,000 people, which would be only 0.001 percent of the US population in 2001, and therefore not fulfilling the definition of terrorism as widespread.
Believe me, that’s the nonsensical over-the-top argument of this judge to make her rule that the CPP-NPA aren’t terrorists. This is contained in page 116 of her decision, an image of which accompanies this column.
I cannot comprehend how this judge can come up with this argument that is so patently preposterous. This argument, so easily debunked, could have been thought of only in desperation to put forward whatever line of defense could be written to claim that the CPP-NPA aren’t terrorist.
Indeed, Lorraine Badoy, former spokesman for the interagency group tasked to end the communist insurgency in a Facebook post challenged Malagar to confirm or deny reports that it was lawyer Edru Olalia and his associates at the Red front organization National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers who helped her in drafting the decision. Olalia has been the longtime personal counsel of CPP founder Jose Ma. Sison, and the National Democratic Front’s official lawyer in past peace talks.
One other reason I’m convinced that the Malagar ruling was drafted by the CPP cadres is that its major argument (other than the absurd one described above) is this organization is not terrorist since it is fighting for a political purpose, to create an egalitarian, prosperous nation, and violence is only a means to this end, if one is to believe in the CPP. Terrorism has no such noble purpose, Malagar implies. She wrote:
“Rebellion is with the end of removing allegiance to the government, or its laws, or a territory or part thereof, or for the purpose of depriving any of the three branches of government partially or wholly of their powers and prerogatives. Terrorism on the other hand, is for the purpose of forcing government to give in to an unlawful demand.”
Is she saying that the CPP’s demand for our democratic system to be dismantled for it to establish its one-party dictatorship is a lawful demand?
Totally unnecessary for the legal ruling asked of her, she argues at length that there wouldn’t be a CPP-NPA insurgency if we had a functioning democratic system.
That 50-year hogwash has been the propaganda tack of the CPP since its emergence and continues to this day, which has fooled not only the gullible youth but even otherwise intelligent people.
That will be for Wednesday.
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