Anti-terrorism body sets meeting to polish rules

By Benjamin Pulta / Philippine News Agency

MANILA – The Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) will meet before the end of June to fine-tune internal rules, a senior Department of Justice (DOJ) official said Monday.


Undersecretary Adrian Sugay said “a few additional provisions” will be taken up during the next ATC meeting.


“It might be better to submit the matter first to the ATC before any disclosure (to newsmen). The mechanism is internal to the ATC,” Sugay said in a text message to reporters.


To date, the ATC has not yet received requests for delisting in the terrorists’ roster released in May.


“The internal mechanism for designation also contains provisions re delisting. As far as I know, no request for delisting has been received by the ATC,” Sugay said.


Republic Act 11479 (Anti-Terrorism Act) defines terrorists as persons who engage in acts intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to any person or endangers a person's life; cause extensive damage or destruction to a government or public facility, public place or private property; and cause extensive interference with, damage or destruction to critical infrastructure.


Terrorists are those who develop, manufacture, possess, acquire, transport, supply, or use weapons, explosives or biological, nuclear, radiological, or chemical weapons, and release dangerous substances causing fire, floods or explosions.


Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison topped the list of terrorists identified by the ATC.


The roster included Sison’s wife, Julieta; National Democratic Front consultants Benito Tiamzon, Wilma Tiamzon, Rafael Baylosis and Vicente Ladlad; and 13 other members of the CPP central committee.


Under Resolution No. 16 issued on April 20, 2021 the ATC also designated as terrorists 10 members of the Abu Sayyaf Group and other militant organizations linked to the Islamic State group.


Among them were Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Mundi Sawadjaan, alleged mastermind in the deadly August 2020 twin bombings in Jolo, Sulu, and Esmael Abdulmalik, also known as Commander Toraifie.


The assets of individuals tagged as terrorists shall be subject to investigation and/or freezing by the Anti-Money Laundering Council.


Any financial support that is directly or indirectly extended to them shall be dealt with in accordance with existing laws. (PNA)

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