Philippines Terrorist Petition Virtual Hit List

Henrietta Brewer
March 10, 2018

The United Nations human rights chief has said that Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines, needs a psychiatric assessment after his government included a UN special rapporteur on a list of 600 people they want classed as "terrorists".

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein demanded that the Human Rights Council, which counts the Philippines among its 47 member countries, "must take a strong position" on the issue, and insisted "these attacks can not go unanswered".

"He needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric examination".

"This is of course unacceptable for a special rapporteur acting on behalf of the worldwide community whose expertise is sought by the Human Rights Council to be treated in this way", Zeid said.

A former Philippine lawmaker and four former Catholic priests were also included in the list.

By declaring groups and individuals terrorists, the government would be able to monitor them more closely, track finances and curb access to resources, among other measures.

After coming into power in 2016, Mr Duterte took steps to find a solution to a long-standing conflict, even putting leftist politicians in his cabinet. Those named in the document are accused of terrorism and alleged membership of the New People's Army and the Communist Party of the Philippines.

The UN special rapporteur on extra-judicial killings, Agnes Callamard, has become a particular Duterte target over her criticism of his campaign to stamp out illegal drugs.

The petition said the rebels were "using acts of terror" to sow fear and panic to overthrow the Government.

"Not only do such lists incite human rights violations, they also legitimize and make "normal" to the public the government's abuse of power in suppressing dissent and decimating the supposed 'enemies of the state, '" she said.

United Nations special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz was named in a government petition presented to a court in Manila last month accusing her of terrorism and alleged membership of the New People's Army (NPA) and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CCP).

The Philippine government's petition to have hundreds of people legally tagged as terrorists is a "virtual government hit list", New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Friday, March 9.

There was no basis for the charge of terrorism, said Mr Sison, who was a mentor of Mr Duterte when he was at university, although the two are now bitter rivals. Duterte ditched intermittent peace talks with Maoist-led rebels a month later and designating the NPA and the CCP terrorist organizations in December.

Duterte has been venting his fury at the Maoists nearly on a daily basis and considers them as much of a security threat as a plethora of domestic militant groups that have pledged allegiance to Islamic State.

Florin Hilbay, former chief legal counsel of the previous Philippine government, noted the irony of Duterte's comments on the eve of the International Women's Day.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano fired back that Zeid was the one behaving in an "irresponsible and disrespectful" manner with his "unmeasured outburst" questioning President Duterte's sanity.

Other reports by iNewsToday