PH removes UN expert, lawyer, ex-lawmaker from ‘terror’ list

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FILE PHOTO: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his State of the Nation address at the House of Representatives in Quezon city, Metro Manila, Philippines July 23, 2018. Reuters

MANILA (Reuters) – A Philippine court has removed four people, including a UN rights rapporteur, from a list of people the government wants declared “terrorists”, citing the lack of a justification for their inclusion.

The justice department in March asked a court to declare 600 alleged communists to be “terrorists”, including the four, after a breakdown in a peace process between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army.

President Rodrigo Duterte had earlier restarted the peace process with the leftist rebels but called the effort off, accusing the insurgents of demanding too many concessions and of attacking soldiers.

The court said in a 14-page resolution that the government had insufficient grounds to declare as terrorists UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people, Victoria Tauli Corpuz, human rights lawyer Jose Molintas, former lawmaker Satur Ocampo, and rebel leader Rafael Baylosis, who was freed from jail to join peace talks.

The four had separately filed petitions with the court against their inclusion on the list.

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