No applications for delisting yet, Anti-Terrorism Council says
Anti-riot policemen block protesters wearing face masks and face shield against COVID-19, during a protest outside the supreme court in Manila on Feb. 2, 2021, as the tribunal prepares to hear a case asking the court to declare the law as unconstitutional.
AFP/Ted Aljibe

No applications for delisting yet, Anti-Terrorism Council says

Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - June 21, 2021 - 11:27am

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 4:21 p.m.) — The Anti-Terrorism Council has yet to receive any request for delisting of personalities or groups that it has designated as terrorists, Justice Undersecretary Adrian Sugay said Monday.

On May 13, the ATC made public its Resolution No. 17, which designated 19 supposed members of Communist Party of the Philippines' central committee and the New People’s Army as terrorists. At least four of those named are peace consultants while three of them are already in jail for charges their families claim are fabricated.

The ATC designated the CPP-NPA as a terrorist group in December 2020.

A separate ATC resolution designated the Islamic State East Asia, Maute Group, Daulah Islamiyah "and other associated groups." 

"As far as I know, no request for delisting has been received by the ATC," Sugay, also ATC spokesperson, told Philstar.com in a text message.

Under the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 11479, or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, a designated terrorist may request delisting before the ATC within 15 days of the publication of their name. The section also lists six grounds for delisting, and how frequently the appeal may be filed.

Following designation, assets of designated individuals or groups shall be subject to the authority of the Anti-Money Laundering Council, which can freeze and investigate them.

Sugay said that since the designated persons did not apply for delisting, "it may be reasonably presumed that they have" waived their right to contest it. He said, though, that people whom the council have accused of being terrorists may always seek judicial remedy.

"Whether or not the court in question will entertain is another matter altogether," he added.

Fides Lim —  wife of political prisoner Vicente Ladlad, a peace consultant included in ATC's list —  asserted that there are "no effective remedies under the ATA for accused persons."

"How can a council that serves as prosecutor, judge, jury, jailer – and executioner – render an impartial decision? That is why the constitutionality of the 'super powers' given to the ATC is one of the issues to be resolved by the SC," she added in a statement.

Lim noted that she had been appealing to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno to unfreeze Ladlad’s compensation accounts.

"He should not allow his office to likewise become a tool of political persecution. Even the implementing rules of [the Anti-Money Laundering Act] explicitly provide, under Rule 16, prohibitions against political persecution and harassment," she added.

Procedure on delisting part of ATC's internal mechanism

Section 25 of the ATA, on designation, was one of the heavily discussed provisions at the Supreme Court’s oral arguments on the 37 petitions against the law.

Government lawyers asserted then that designation is an executive and administrative function of the ATC. They also told justices that designation only triggers the freezing of bank accounts but not arrests.

RELATED: Cheat sheet: Key issues raised at SC oral arguments on anti-terrorism law

Associate Justice Rosmari Carandang brought up ATC's internal process on delisting during the oral arguments, 

In an interview with Philstar.com at the time, Sugay said that while they have yet to iron out the internal mechanism on this, "the delisting procedure may already be used. As I said, it is already in the IRR and parties designated are entitled to file such verified request as a matter of right."

On Monday, Sugay explained that the ATC’s internal mechanism on designation "also contains provisions re: delisting," but he noted that these rules are confidential.

The DOJ official said they are "proposing a few additional provisions and this will hopefully be taken up during the next ATC meeting."

Sugay refused to disclose these additional provisions, pending ATC discussions.

The council will hold a meeting this month, he said.

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