Safeguards in place for those designated as terrorists: ATC spokesman

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 14 2021 03:46 PM | Updated as of May 14 2021 03:50 PM

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MANILA - Safeguards are in place for those who have been designated as terrorists, a spokesperson of the Anti-Terrorism Council said on Friday.

Justice Undersecretary Adrian Sugay said those listed can file a petition for delisting to the council and can even sue.

“There is a process stated in the law and there is always that opportunity to question,” he said in an interview on ANC's Matters of Fact. 

“Under the rules, you can actually file a verified petition for delisting that can be filed with the ATC and you can question the reason why you were designated in the first place. Maybe you can ask for the basis for the designation—these are matters may be done by a designee who feels that there was improper designation as far as he’s concerned."

The designee, Sugay added, may also go to court. 

“He may file the necessary action against the Anti-Terrorism Council seeking a setting aside of the resolution for designation against this person,” he said.

Sugay said the ATC has so far designated 29 individuals as terrorists—19 of which are alleged members of the central committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA). The 10 others are members of local terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group.

The names of the 19 alleged CPP-NPA leaders have been published in newspapers on Thursday.

“There is an internal mechanism for designation which is being used by the Anti-Terrorism Council. I understand that all requests as well as relevant information and evidence are forwarded to a technical working group and the technical working group makes its evaluation and makes the appropriate recommendations for the approval and for consideration of the council,” he said.

Members of the TWG, he said, are representatives from the Anti-Money Laundering Council, the National Security Council as well as the Department of Justice.

But Sugay stressed that designation does not mean immediate arrest as its primary purpose is to freeze their assets.

“Designation alone, in our position, is not sufficient to result in the arrest of the designated person. Designation is really for freezing assets. A person may only be arrested for violation of the Anti-Terror Act when he is caught inflagrante delicto or if a criminal complaint has been filed ggainst him for violation of anywhere from sections 4 to 12 of the Anti-Terror Act,” he said.

Under the ATA, those subject of a freeze order have 20 days to file a petition with the Court of Appeals to question the basis for the freeze order, while the ATA’s Implementing Rules and Regulations gives designated individuals and groups 15 days to ask for delisting from the Anti-Terrorism Council.