Renato Reyes Jr. of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said the designation “is arbitrary, no clear standards, no specific terrorist acts cited, just a sweeping accusation.”
By EMILY VITAL
MANILA — Bagong Alyansang Makabayan described the Anti-Terror Council’s designation of terrorists as “arbitrary, no clear standards, no specific terrorist acts cited, just a sweeping accusation.”
The Anti-Terrorism Council released names of 19 ‘designated terrorists,’ today, May 13. A day before, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., also vice chairperson of the ATC, announced the release of names during the oral arguments before the Supreme Court.
The members of the Anti-Terrorism Council and their track record
“It is no different from red-tagging that violates the rights of those designated. It is clear that the Anti-Terror Law is easily abused as seen from this kind of designation,” Reyes added.
Under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, the Anti-Terrorism Council may order for the designation of an individual or organization as a terrorist. The Office of the Solicitor General, during the SC oral arguments before the Supreme Court, argued that designation will only lead to freezing of bank assets and not arrests.
In their petitions against the Anti-Terror Law, human rights groups argued that the ATC’s power to designate groups and individuals as terrorists “violates due process clause, the right to be presumed innocent, and freedom of association.”
The ATC’s power of designation, they added, is a violation of the principle of separation of powers and a usurpation of judicial prerogatives.
Even without being designated as terrorists, assets of several NGOs such as the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) and United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP)-Haran Center in Davao del Sur have been frozen.
11 are peace consultants
Reyes also pointed out that several in the list are peace consultants, “a fact that runs counter to the claim that they are terrorists.”
Eleven of the nineteen individuals listed by the Anti-Terrorism Council are publicly known peace consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
Three-Rey Claro Casambre, Vicente Ladlad and Adelberto Silva — are currently in prison over charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives. Eight of the 11 were freed by the Duterte administration when it resumed peace talks with the NDFP.
Earlier, the ATC designated the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorist organizations.
Under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig), consultants and all those involved in the peace talks should be spared from arrests, detention and other forms of harassment.
Since Duterte assumed office, five NDFP consultants were killed and scores others were arrested and detained over what rights groups say are fabricated charges.
Timeline | Attacks on peace consultants under the Duterte administration