THE Manila regional trial court (RTC) yesterday declared Communist Party of the Philippines chairman Jose Maria “Joma” Sison a party in the government’s prescription case seeking to declare the CPP and New People’s Army as terrorist groups
Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar also declared another respondent named in the Justice Department’s petition, Mindanao Commission secretary Antonio Cabanatan, also a party in the case after his links to the CPP-NPA were established.
The court noted an affidavit by a certain Numeriano Beringuel in 2006 naming Cabanatan as “a member of the Central Committee of the CPP/NPA.”
It also ordered the DoJ to serve the summons on Sison and Cabanatan by publication to require them to answer the petition.
The court, however, did not find any established links of six other individuals named in the amended petition of DoJ — Jorge Madlos of the NPA National Operations Command; Jaime Padilla, a supposed leader of the Melito Glor Command; Francisco Fernandez, an alleged secretary of the Negros Region Committee; Cleofe Lagtapon, a Southeast Front head of the same committee; Leonido Nabong, head of the Western Mindanao Regional Party Military Commission; and Myrna Sularte, secretary of the Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee - - and declared them as non-parties.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra immediately welcomed the development, saying the Manila court’s ruling was an affirmation of the government’s position against the leaders of CPP-NPA.
“This is a positive development in our proscription case against CPP-NPA. Now the CPP-NPA has a judicially declared physical representation in the persons of Sison and Cabanatan,” he stressed in an interview.