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No internal rules yet, but DOJ promises terrorist designation can be appealed

No internal rules yet, but DOJ promises terrorist designation can be appealed

MANILA, Philippines — As the Anti-Terrorism Council looks into designating 25 personalities as terrorists, the Department of Justice said the body has yet to iron out internal rules for delisting but promised terror tags can be appealed.

Under the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, a designated terrorist may request for delisting before the ATC within 15 days of the pubiclation of their name.

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But the anti-terrorism body has yet to draft its internal guidelines for the processing of delisting requests.

Justice Undersecretary Adrian Sugay, also the spokesperson for the Anti-Terrorism Council, told Philstar.com that rules will eventually be set. “But the procedure is already in the IRR. Any designated party who wishes to be delisted may already do so in pursuant to the IRR,” he added.

In December 2020, the ATC signed Resolution 12 and designated the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New Peoples’ Army, as terrorist organizations.

The STAR reported on February 22 that National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said the ATC has started looking into 25 alleged members of the CPP-NPA’s central committee to be declared as terrorists.

Once designated as a terrorist, an individual or organization will be subjected to the authority of the Anti-Money Laundering Council, which will freeze their property or money.

Rule 6.9 of IRR

Under Rule 6.9 of the IRR, a request for delisting may be filed as often as grounds exist.

It listed the following grounds to request delisting:

  • Mistaken identity
  • Relevant and significant change of facts or circumstance
  • Newly discovered evidence
  • Death of a designated person
  • Dissolution or liquidation of designated organizations, associations, or groups of persons; or
  • Any other circumstance which should show that the basis for designation no longer exists

The IRR also said the request for delisting may be filed as often as grounds for it exist. However, no request may be filed within six months of a denial of a prior appeal.

Asked what form the request should be in, Sugay replied: “Verification is normally done by any person authorized to administer oaths. That’s a general requirement.”

“What is important is that a verified request be made and is addressed to the ATC,” he added.

Although asked, Sugay did not say whether the ATC would require documents to be submitted or if hearings would be conducted for delisting. He also did not say if the ATC, which decides on designations, would be the same body to process or validate the request for delisting.

The DOJ official said the ATC has not set a timeframe yet for its internal guidelines for processing of requests for delisting.

But Sugay assured the public: “[T] he delisting procedure may already be used. As I said, it is already in the IRR and parties designated are entitled to file such verified request as a matter of right.”

Supreme Court proceedings on 37 consolidated petitions challenging the anti-terrorism law will resume on Tuesday. The groups are asking the high court to strike down the law as unconstitutional for infringing on peoples’ rights. — with reports from The STAR/Romina Cabrera

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