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

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

Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - May 12, 2021 - 7:34pm

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: May 13, 2021 - 9:06am

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 

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. 


April 27, 2021 - 2:59pm

Solicitor General Jose Calida tells the Supreme Court that the Philippines must have an Anti-Terrorism Act because of international obligations. 

Calida says "supervening events warrant ouright dismissal of petitions." He notes there are already cases involving ATA, such as case against farmers Japer Gurung and Junior Ramos, and three individuals in Negros Occidental.

He says petitioners do not have standing to question the law since they are not directly affected by it.

April 21, 2021 - 5:53pm

Oral arguments on petitions against the Anti-Terrorism Act will resume on April 27 at 2:30 p.m..

According to a Supreme Court advisory, the arguments will be carried out through videoconferencing due to the pandemic.

March 22, 2021 - 3:11pm

Oral arguments on the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 scheduled on March 23 is suspended due to the "alarming increase of COVID cases."

Supreme Court Clerk of Court Edgar Aricheta says the oral arguments will resume on April 6 at 2:30 p.m.

March 15, 2021 - 1:03pm

The oral arguments on the petitions against the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 will resume on March 23.

The Supreme Court announces that the oral arguments scheduled on March 16 is suspended.

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with