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

Robie de Guzman   •   May 13, 2021   •   229

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.

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.

Anti-Terrorism Council to publish names of persons tagged as terrorists – Esperon

Robie de Guzman   •   May 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) will release on Thursday a list of individuals who have been designated as terrorists, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. told the Supreme Court during oral arguments on petitions against the Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020 on Wednesday.

Esperon disclosed this information when he spoke for the first time at the oral arguments on petitions seeking to nullify the anti-terror law.

Esperon said the Communist Party of the Philippines, its armed wing New People’s Army and some of organizations linked to the communist group have already been designated by the ATC as terrorists.

He also answered in the affirmative when asked by Supreme Court Associate Justice Rosmari Carandang if individuals have also been designated as terrorists.

“I do not want to preempt the Anti-Terrorism Council because I have not seen yet the publication today or tomorrow, of the designation of several persons connected with the CPP-NPA, but we will do that,” Esperon told the high court.

“Are you at liberty to name these people since there have been designations already made?” Carandang asked.

“There is a resolution of the Anti-Terrorism Council but until we have published these in local papers, we will not name them publicly, your Honor. Tomorrow, they will come out in the papers,” said Esperon, who also serves as ATC vice chairperson.

Under Section 25 of the Anti-Terrorism Law, the ATC has the authority to designate individuals, group 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.

Meanwhile, Esperon stressed that the implementation of the Anti-Terrorism Law is necessary in the country, especially at a time when terrorism continues to evolve and worsen.

The security adviser also expressed belief that the Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020 is better than the Human Security Act of 2007 that the new measure had repealed.

“We have the weakest anti-terrorism law if we refer the Human Security Act in this region or in the world. This is one reason probably that we are number 10 in the global terrorism index,” he said.

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