PH will get treated like a leper without anti-terror law – Calida
MANILA, Philippines – Without an anti-terror law, Solicitor-General Jose Calida said the Philippines could be seen as a “leper” by the international community.
On Tuesday, Calida presented before the Supreme Court an argument on the significance of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, which has been the subject of 37 petitions seeking its abolition.
Calida said under the 2020 Global Terrorism Index, the Philippines has the dubious distinction of being the only Southeast Asian country in the top 10 nations most impacted by terrorism.
That’s why he said the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has a deadline for passing an anti-terrorism law.
“Without such a law the Philippines will be treated as a leper. FATF will see to it to either blacklist us or put us on the grey list,” he said, adding that the enactment of the ATA is compliant with the country’s obligations under the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) No. 1373 and the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.
Calida said: “the latest Mutual Evaluation Report of the FATF rated the Philippines as only partially compliant to UNSCR No. 1373. The UNSC found the Philippines’ efforts in preventing terrorist financing as grossly deficient.”
He warned that having the country graylisted in the future would lower investor and lender confidence and “may also result [in] limited access to banking or financial services,” affecting millions of overseas Filipino workers and their families.
A grey list is a list of countries considered as a safe haven for terrorists and money laundering, while the blacklisted nations are those non-cooperative in the global fight against terrorism.
Calida said the petitions against the Anti-Terror Law should be dismissed outright.
“Congress in its wisdom passed a new Anti-Terrorism Act. The political question is the reason behind this enactment. The doctrine of separation of powers barricades it from judicial scrutiny. The determination of this matter exclusively rests upon Congress. Due deference from the courts is expected,” he said.
“It is the duty of petitioners to demonstrate actual case and controversy worthy of judicial resolution. Despite the braggadocio of the petitioners, they did not do it,” he added.
He said “outright dismissal is the only choice available” because there are other parties with direct and specific interests.
Calida also noted formal defects in some petitions that didn’t meet high court requirements.
He said some petitions don’t submit a special power of attorney (legal counsel to represent their interests); failed to sign their petition; didn’t comply with court rules on numbered paragraphs; and didn’t include the required non-forum shopping certification and verification.
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