Anti-terror law takes effect today

Maris Federez   •   July 18, 2020   •   779

MANILA, Philippines – Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 takes effect today, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Friday (July 17), even in the absence of implementing rules and regulations (IRR).

Guevarra said the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) becomes effective 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette and national newspapers on July 3.

Read: Duterte signs Anti-Terrorism bill into law

“The effectivity clause of the Anti-Terrorism Act states that the Act shall take effect 15 days after its publication in the official gazette or in at least two newspapers of general circulation. Considering that the law was published on July 3, it will take effect on July 18, which is the 15th day,” Guevarra told reporters on Friday as he rectified an earlier statement that the law would take effect on Sunday (July 19).

When asked why the law will take effect sans the IRR, Guevarra said, “the promulgation of the IRR is not a condition for the effectivity of the law.”

He added that some provisions of the ATA are self-executing such as the organization of the Anti-Terrorism Council.

The IRR will be drafted in consultation with law enforcement agencies and the military, and will be ready within 90 days, he said.

“But there are provisions where operational details need to be spelled out or standards clearly defined in the IRR for proper implementation of the law,” Guevarra also pointed out.

The DOJ chief stressed that “it will be more prudent for law enforcement agents to await the promulgation of the IRR.”

Once the draft has been approved, the secretary said “the IRR will likewise have to be published when it is done.”

“The DOJ and the Anti-Terrorism Council, in consultation with law enforcement agencies and military institutions, will promulgate the IRR for the implementation of the anti-terrorism law,” Guevarra said.

Various groups have filed several petitions before the Supreme Court against the Anti-Terrorism Act, seeking for issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) on its implementation pending a resolution of questions regarding its constitutionality.

Read: More petitions vs. Anti-Terrorism Act filed in SC

Read: Palace on petitions vs. Anti-Terrorism Law: Leave it to Supreme Court

Among the groups who filed the petition before the High Court were that of lawyer Howard Calleja, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, law dean Mel Sta. Maria, and the Makabayan bloc led by Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate. — /mbmf

Military backs Anti-Terrorism Council’s resolutions on terrorist tag

Robie de Guzman   •   May 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday expressed support for the decision of the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) to publish resolutions designating some individuals as terrorists.

“The AFP supports the Anti-Terrorism Council’s Resolution Nos. 16 and 17 which designate 10 local terrorist group individuals and 19 CPP-NPA members as terrorists,” AFP chief of staff General Cirilito Sobejana said in a statement.

“The military organization further conveys its full confidence to the ATC’s decision which was carried out based on verified and validated information,” he added.

The ATC published on Thursday Resolution No. 17, designating 19 alleged leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army as terrorists.

The council also listed as terrorists in Resolution No. 16 ten members of different local terrorist groups such as the Abu Sayyaf Group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and the Daulah Islamiyah.

These individuals are accused of conspiring, planning, and preparing for the commission of terrorism, covered by Sections 6, 7, and 10 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

With this development, the AFP said it will be able to further protect the public citizens from terrorist acts by closely working together with government law enforcement agencies and focusing resources to bring the mentioned personalities to justice.

“We are optimistic that the ATC’s resolution will continue to empower government, under the rule of law, to eradicate terrorism in our country, and maintain a peaceful and progressive nation for every Filipinos,” Sobejana said.

Under the Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020, the ATC has the authority to designate individuals, groups of individuals, organizations, or associations as terrorists without a court hearing.

This measure will allow the Anti-Money Laundering Council to freeze the assets of designated personalities or organizations.

Persons designated as terrorists have 15 days to file a request for delisting.

Joma Sison ‘not bothered’ by PH government’s terrorist designation

Robie de Guzman   •   May 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Self-exiled communist leader Jose Maria “Joma” Sison on Thursday shrugged off the government’s move to designate him and other alleged high-ranking members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) as “terrorists.”

Sison and his wife were among the 29 individuals designated as terrorists in a resolution published by the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC).

Sison, who is in the Netherlands, said he and his spouse are “not at all bothered” by the inclusion of their names in the list.

“To start with, the list of names in the designation appears to be arbitrary, dubious, and even contradictory or inconsistent with the various public and purportedly personal statements even of its own NTF-ELCAC (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict) evil minions,” he said.

“Moreover, it includes mostly publicly-known political consultants of the NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines) Negotiating Panel in the peace negotiations with the Manila government who are all entitled to the protection of the GRP-NDFP Joint Agreement of Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and other binding bilateral agreements,” he added.

He, however, admitted worrying about the welfare of other personalities tagged in the list who are staying in the Philippines.

“We are not bothered even by the threats of Duterte death squads coming over to hit us which have been persistently reported to us by various sources. We have been alert to these threats,” Sison said. “Our main concern is for those who are in the Philippines and are designated by the aforesaid resolution and many more people who are red-tagged and vulnerable to the criminal violence of the Duterte regime.”

Under Resolution No. 17 dated April 21, the Anti-Terrorism Council formally tagged Sison and 18 other alleged high-ranking members of CPP’s Central Committee as terrorists.

The resolution, signed by Executive Secretary and ATC chairperson Salvador Medialdea, and National Security Adviser, and ATC vice-chair Hermogenes Esperon Jr., was published in a local newspaper on Thursday.

In a separate resolution, ten members of different local terrorist groups such as the Abu Sayyaf Group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and the Daulah Islamiyah have also been designated as terrorists.

These individuals are accused of conspiring, planning, and preparing for the commission of terrorism, covered by Sections 6, 7, and 10 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

“Based on verified and validated information, the ATC found probable cause, as defined I the Anti-Terrorism Act, warranting the designation of the following center committee members of the CPP… for planning, preparing, facilitating, conspiring, and inciting the commission of terrorism and recruitment and membership in a terrorist organization or a group organized for the purpose of engaging in terrorism,” the resolution read.

Under Section 25 of the Anti-Terrorism Law, the ATC has the authority to designate individuals, groups of individuals, organizations, or associations as terrorists without a court hearing.

This will allow the Anti-Money Laundering Council to freeze the assets of designated personalities or organizations.

Individuals tagged as terrorists have 15 days to file a request for delisting.

PH anti-terror council designates 19 alleged CPP execs, 10 ASG & BIFF members as terrorists

Robie de Guzman   •   May 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) has designated 19 alleged leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorists in a resolution it published in local papers Thursday.

Under Resolution No. 17 dated April 21, the ATC listed as terrorist CPP founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison, and 18 other alleged high-ranking members of CPP’s Central Committee.

“The Central Committee is the highest decision- and policy-making body of the CPP and also leads and commands the NPA, its main weapon in attaining the party’s goal of overthrowing the duly elected government by seizing and consolidating political powers through violent means,” the council said in a news release.

The resolution was signed by ATC officials, including Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.

In a separate resolution,  ten members of different local terrorist groups such as the Abu Sayyaf Group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and the Daulah Islamiyah have also been designated as terrorists.

These individuals are accused of conspiring, planning, and preparing for the commission of terrorism, covered by Sections 6, 7, and 10 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Under Section 25 of the Anti-Terrorism Law, the ATC has the authority to designate individuals, groups of individuals, organizations, or associations as terrorists without a court hearing.

This will allow the Anti-Money Laundering Council to freeze the assets of designated personalities or organizations.

Individuals tagged as terrorists have 15 days to file a request for delisting.

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