July 09, 2020 at 11:30 pm
Two senators who were former police chiefs said President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of the communist rebels and other terror groups as “terrorists” is his personal opinion and not official.
Senators Panfilo Lacson and Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said if in “declaring” a group, organization or association as a terrorist organization, the President was referring to its proscription, which means there is a judicial process involved.
Lacson noted that there is full court intervention via the Court of Appeals complete with due notice and hearing.
On the other hand, Dela Rosa said the court- the CA will still proscribe although it’s the Anti-Terrorism Council which will designate.
Under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, Lacson said only the CA can order the proscription - not the ATC nor the President. He also said that the burden of proof lies with the Department of Justice.
“Even membership in a proscribed terrorist group goes through the same due process which the DOJ has to prove,” he said
On the other hand, if the President is referring to the designation of a terrorist individual, group and organization by the ATC, Lacson said it does not involve arrest and detention but a mere signal for the ATC to request the Anti-Money Laundering Council to issue a freeze order of the accounts and assets of the designated terrorist person or group.
Lacson also said that the designation for the purpose of freezing the accounts and assets is not exempt from judicial scrutiny since the said designated individual or group can still file a petition with the CA to appeal such freezing of their accounts.
“Designation follows the guidelines and standards set by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373. It is not absolute or discretionary on the part of the ATC,” he said.
Dela Rosa said there are two processes under the ATL: the designation as terrorist organizations by the ATC and the proscription of CPP-NPA as terrorist organization by a court since it is a judicial process.
“Technically, it is the ATC who will designate CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization and the court that will proscribe it as a terrorist organization. ‘Yung sinabi ni President, sa kanya yun,” Dela Rosa said.
The trial of the proscription case against the CPP-NPA is still pending before the Manila RTC. With the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, the trial will be transferred to a division of the Court of Appeals to be authorized by the Supreme Court.