Esperon says Anti-Terrorism Council designated terrorists out on May 14 dailies

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Esperon says Anti-Terrorism Council designated terrorists out on May 14 dailies
In this Feb. 26, 2018 photo, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. speaks at the Senate hearing on Benham Rise following reports of a Chinese entity conducting marine scientific research in the area. In a press conference Wednesday, Esperon admitted that he considers the influx of Chinese nationals in the country as a threat.
The STAR / Mong Pintolo, File photo

MANILA, Philippines — The Anti-Terrorism Council will publish on May 13 individuals connected to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army to be designated as terrorists, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said Wednesday.

"I do not want to preempt the anti-terrorism council, because I have not seen yet the designation of several persons connected with the CPP-NPA, but we will do that," Esperon said in the oral arguments on the 37 petitions against the anti-terrorism law at the Supreme Court on Wednesday. He refused to divulge their names and instead pointed out that these will be published on newspapers on Thursday.

Justice Undersecretary Adrian Sugay, ATC spokesperson, also confirmed this to reporters.

Earlier this year, the national security adviser said the ATC will declare at least 25 members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army as terrorists.

The ATC had earlier designated the CPP-NPA as terrorists and a proscription petition against them is pending before the Manila court.

READ: Questions for Esperon pile up as SC justices bring up Parlade's red-tagging in anti-terror debates

Red-tagging in the SC

So far, only Associate Justice Rosmari Carandang was able to interpellate Esperon. Other justices manifested that they too have questions for the national security adviser.

In earlier setting of the debates, Carandang said she would defer to Esperon her question on the government’s basis of accusing organizers of community pantries of having communist links.

But this issue was not brought up in the interpellation.

Esperon had asked the SC if he could play a two-minute video of CPP founder Joma Sison, whom the NSA referred to as “number one red-tagger,” where the latter supposedly names organizations allied with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

The NSA also asked to play another video of Sison where he supposedly named several progressive organizations, including some petitioners, as fronts of the communist rebellion.

Sison, in November 2020, already said the video taken in 1988 in Brussels, Belgium was of him actually differentiating between the legal forces of the broad national democratic movement and the armed revolutionary movement.

"I always make a differentiation between the legal democratic organizations and the revolutionary forces in the underground and those involved in the people’s war in the countryside," he said then.

BAYAN chairperson Renato Reyes, whose organization was in Sison’s second video, refuted Esperon’s presentation and asserted that this was “based on the recycled lie.”

Reyes also said that if the video will be the basis for the potential terrorist designation of Bayan or any legal activist, then “that would simply be absurd and will expose the terror law as indeed a sham and an instrument to curtain basic rights.”


The ATA’s Implementing Rules and Regulation stated that the government can publish its list of suspected terrorists online and in the national dailies. Under Rule 6.3 of the IRR, the ATC upon finding probable cause, may proceed with domestic designation.

Government lawyers insisted that the designation would only trigger the Anti-Money Laundering Council’s powers to freeze assets of designated terrorists.

Assistant Solicitor General Marissa Galandines reiterated this in several questionings at the SC’s oral debates. She also asserted that designation will not result in arrests, as opposed to membership in a proscribed organization, which is punishable under Section 10 of the ATA.

Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo, in his interpellation, notes that designation “affects the reputation both of person and property of designate.”

He pressed: Is designation under Section 25 not covered by Section 1 Article III of the Constitution or the due process clause?

Galandines again asserted that designation is an executive proceeding that would not require giving notice to parties.

Gesmundo argued: “Are you telling us that an administrative proceeding is not covered by due process clause. That’s too elementary in admin law. Due process clause applies practically in all proceedings. Criminal, administrative, what have you."

Galandines insisted that designation is an executive proceeding.

But the chief justice rebutted: “No. It’s even worse it’s an executive proceeding. It would have been different if it’s judicial proceeding. Is reputation of person not covered by the concept of property in the due process clause?”

The SC oral arguments will continue on Monday, May 17.





As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: June 22, 2022 - 8:18am

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Anti-Terrorism Law on July 3 despite opposition from rights groups and civil society groups that it could be used to stifle human rights.

A petition against the law has been filed at the Supreme Court and other groups are preparing pleadings of their own.

Follow this page for updates. Photo courtesy of The STAR/Michael Varcas 

June 22, 2022 - 8:18am

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon moves to block access to several websites, including news sites of alternative news orrganizations Bulatlat.com and Pinoyweekly.org.

In his letter to the National Telecommunications Commission, he only says the websites are "affiliated to and are supporting these terrorists and terrorist organizations."

No other basis to back up his allegation was cited in the letter.

December 12, 2021 - 1:10pm

The Commission on Human Rights says it "partly welcomes" the Supreme Court decision that some parts of the controversial Anti-terrorism Law are unconstitutional.

CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia says the commission remains hopeful that the remaining contentious provisions of the law will be clarified by the high cour in the full text of the decision.

"At the same time, our commitment remains in guarding against possible human rights violations arising from the implementation of the anti-terror law. We steadfastly remind the government that countering terrorism and protecting human rights are not competing values but are, in fact, mutual and complementary," De Guia says in a statement.

December 7, 2021 - 7:10pm

The Supreme Court has deliberated and voted on the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act but the decision will be released "at the soonest time possible."

"However, considering that there were numerous issues resolved in the case, as well as the fact that each Justice had to vote on each issue, there is a need to accurately confirm and tally the vote of each Justice in order to ensure the correct resolution of the Court per issue," SC spokesperson Brian Hosaka says.

July 19, 2021 - 8:33am

The Anti-Terrorism Council designates the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, the panel that negotiates for communist rebels during peace talks a terrorist organization.

Previous designation of the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People's Army led to the designation of supposed members of the CPP's Central Committee. Among those designated as terorrists were peace consultants.

Designation gives the Anti-Terrorism Council the authority to investigate and freeze the accounts of designated persons.

May 13, 2021 - 9:06am

The Anti-Terrorism Council has designated 29 people, including alleged members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army, as terrorists in two resolutions.

Designation allows the Anti-Money Laundering Council to freeze the assets of those on the list. 


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