Appeals court lifts freeze order on women farmers group’s bank account

“The court’s decision is an affirmation that the allegations made against our organization were based on unfounded testimonies.”

By AIRA MARIE E. SIGUENZA
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — The Court of Appeals has lifted the freeze order on one of the bank accounts of the Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women.

In a resolution dated Nov. 17, the 10th Division of the Court of Appeals found “no probable cause to believe that its said bank account is involved in the terrorism financing” per the witnesses presented by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

“As such, it would be improper and unjust to include the aforesaid bank account of respondent Amihan National in the grant of the instant Verified Petition for the extension of the subject freeze order,” the 13-page decision read.

The freeze order stems from the Resolution No. TR-38, Series of 2021 that the AMLC issued on May 5, 2021. Citing Republic Act No. 10168 or the Terrorism Financing and Suppression Act of 2012, the AMLC alleged that the 17 bank accounts were financing the operations of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army, and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

In an earlier resolution, both the CPP and the NPA were listed by the Anti-Terrorism Council as terrorists. Meanwhile, Amihan is among the progressive groups that have been persistently red-tagged.

“The court’s decision is an affirmation that the allegations made against our organization were based on unfounded testimonies. It is a scheme of the Duterte government targeting and vilifying peasant and progressive organizations who have relentlessly been opposing its anti-farmer and anti-people policies,” Amihan National Chairperson Zenaida Soriano said.

However, Amihan said that while they welcome the appellate court’s decision, the bank accounts of Amihan – Northern Mindanao Region, a separate entity from the national office, remain on the freeze order.

Read: Peasant women’s group decries AMLC’s freezing of its bank accounts

“The freeze order was based solely on the unfounded testimonies given by two individuals who made allegations against Amihan. We have no knowledge on the identities of these individuals and we do not have any transactions with them,” Soriano said.

The farmer leader was referring to the witnesses presented by the AMLC, who claimed that they were financing offensive operations of the CPP and the NPA.

Read also:
AMLC freezes peace consultant’s compensation as martial law victim
A year into terror law, ‘meager’ assets of rights defenders frozen

Amid these serious attacks, the group said they are standing firm on their commitment to uphold the rights and welfare of farming communities.

Amihan was assisted by human rights lawyers from the Sentro para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo in questioning the freeze order against them. (JJE, RVO) (https://www.bulatlat.com)

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