Process to designate Teves as terrorist starts

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Process to designate Teves as terrorist starts
Negros Oriental 3rd District Cong. Arnolfo Teves Jr. holds a press conference with Atty. Ferdie Topacio in Pasig City on Thursday (January 12, 2023) to plead for his family's safety after receiving reports of an alleged police raid in his residence to seize evidence on his alleged connection to e-sabong.
STAR / File Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The Anti-Terrorism Council has created a panel to recommend their action on the designation of Rep. Arnolfo Teves (Negros Oriental), Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said.

Designation of people and organizations as terrorists is a power given to the council by the Anti-Terrorism Act and could leave Teves, who is believed to still be abroad, unable to access his bank accounts.

Remulla, a member of the council by virtue of his post, said the ATC met on Wednesday morning. “I’ve made a case already for the designation. We started the process of designating [Teves] as a terrorist,” he said Wednesday.

The justice secretary first floated the move at the Senate hearing into the killing of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo, where eight others also died.

Remulla named Teves the likely mastermind behind the killing, although the lawmaker has denied this.

Teves and his lawyers have questioned the basis of the move to tag him as a terrorist, but Remulla insisted that the provincial lawmaker can be designated due to the brazenness of the crime that can "terrorize" others.

"Gov. Degamo is the highest locally-elected official in the whole of Negros Oriental and for that person to be killed in his own home by a group of professional soldiers and of course recorded for posterity by the CCTV system, it shows us how brazen the crime was," the justice chief said.

Three others, including military reservist Marvin Miranda who is also tagged in the killing of Degamo, will be included in the designation, he added.

“The case against [Teves] for multiple murder, for multiple frustrated murder, multiple attempted murder will be filed very soon,” Remulla added.


Fears have been raised against the potential abuse of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

More than 35 groups its constitutionality before the Supreme Court, but the tribunal left the law virtually untouched in the end.

The designation of Teves as a terrorist, under Section 25 of law, will trigger the Anti-Money Laundering Council’s authority to freeze the assets of the lawmaker.

Under Section 25 of Republic Act 11479 or the ATA, the Anti-Terrorism Council may designate an individual upon finding of probable cause that they committed, attempted to commit, or conspired to commit the following acts:

  • Terrorism
  • Threat to commit terrorism
  • Planning, training, preparing and facilitating the commission of terrorism
  • Conspiracy to commit terrorism
  • Proposal to commit terrorism
  • Inciting to commit terrorism
  • Recruitment to and membership in a terrorist organization
  • Providing material support to terrorists

But Remulla pointed out that designation will also open the possibility for a proscription case to be filed against Teves, before the Court of Appeals.

Proscription is a separate power under the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. The process starts with the application the DOJ.

"When he’s tagged already, then there’s is already a possible proscription, but once a case is filed for terrorism—because we’ll also file a case for terrorism simultaneous with the multiple murder cases—the duty of rendition comes in to the UN member states because he will be enrolled in the UN list of terrorists," Remulla said.

The ATA defines "extraordinary rendition" as the "transfer of a person, suspected of being a terrorist or supporter of a terrorist organization, association, or group of persons to a foreign nation for imprisonment and interrogation on behalf of the transferring nation."

It added that this may be done "without framing any formal charges, trial, or approval of the court."

Teves has refused to come back to Manila, citing fear for his life. Remulla has said they believe the lawmaker is in Asia. — with report from The STAR/Marc Jayson Cayabyab

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