DOJ asks court to formalize CPP-NPA terror tag

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 21) — The government takes a step closer to formally declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing New People's Army (NPA) as terrorist organizations.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday filed a petition asking the Metro Manila Regional Trial Court to issue an order declaring the CPP and NPA as "terrorist and outlawed organizations."

President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly called the communist rebels as terrorists, and even issued a proclamation to that effect in December 2017. This will be official once approved by a regional trial court, according to the Human Security Act of 2007.

In its petition, the DOJ said the rebels have been "deceiving" the government into holding peace talks, "while their main purpose is to mobilize all their forces in preparation of a 'people's war' aimed at overthrowing the duly constituted authorities, seizing control of the Philippine Government, and imposing a totalitarian regime."

It urged the court to put an end to the CPP-NPA's deception.

The document was signed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong.

Under the law, a person found guilty of terrorism will be sentenced to jail for 40 years without parole. Terrorism under the law, includes rebellion, insurrection, murder, and arson, among others.

Duterte ended the on-off negotiations with communist rebels in November 2017, citing a rash of violent attacks by the NPA. It was the first time in 18 years that peace talks had been terminated.

In a speech on Tuesday, however, Duterte said he is consulting the military on the possibility of reviving the peace negotiations.

Related: Duterte to reconsider peace talks with Reds

The Duterte government is the sixth administration to try to end the rebels' 48-year-old armed insurgency, the longest-running in Asia.

CNN Philippines' Anjo Alimario contributed to this report.