Undersecretary Severo Catura: Red-Linked Groups’ Bid Vs. Gov’t Still Under Review

A Palace official clarified that the petition of several groups allegedly linked to the Communist Party of the Philippine-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) against the government is still under review contrary to groups’ claim.

Undersecretary Severo Catura, head of the Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat, denied that the writs of amparo and habeas data issued by the Supreme Court favor petitioners Karapatan, Gabriela and Rural Missionaries of the Philippines.

“We denounce the efforts of groups rabidly critical of this administration to peddle information over media that the SC has issued a writ of amparo and habeas data in favor of groups deemed by the government as alleged fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP),” he said.

He said the groups’ claim is utterly false and reeks of a coercive campaign by these same critiques to preempt a decision by the Judiciary even while the petition is still under review.

The groups, in their petition, claimed that their rights to life, liberty, and security have are being violated and being violated by the government’s red-tagging allegations.

Named as respondents in this petition were President Rodrigo R. Duterte, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Madrigal, and 10 others.

The High Court also ordered the respondents to submit a verified return of the writs of amparo and habeas data before the Court of Appeals (CA) in Manila on or before June 13 and to comment on the petition.

It also directed the CA to hear the petition by June 18 and resolve the case on the merits within 10 days.

Catura said the government respects and welcome the move by the SC to refer the petition to the CA.

“It offers the government, especially those who were named as respondents, to clarify the true nature and character of these groups. It bears repeating that these groups that have decried being alleged to as front organizations of the CPP were actually named as such by no less than the CPP’s founder, Jose Maria Sison. If at all, Sison should be made to account for their misery, ” he pointed out.

Catura said the respondents, assisted by the Office of the Solicitor General, will prepare counter-measures against the petition and vows a” solid defense” the court will appreciate.

<strong>Protecting PH</strong>

“In doing so, our people shall be made more aware that there is a local war on terror which our government, with our people’s support, must win if only to protect our country from this expanding scourge,” Catura said.

He said for over 50 years, local terrorism has taken a heavy toll on countless innocent Filipino lives, especially on our children and on indigenous peoples, and on our economic development as a nation.

“Anything less than what we are doing now to quell this form of terror would be a brazen remiss of our obligation to ensure our people’s protection and the security of our country, ” he added.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)

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