Designated ‘terrorists’ list was thoroughly checked — Esperon
MANILA, Philippines — The “terrorist” identification of 19 alleged leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) as well as 10 Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members went through thorough checking, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said Saturday.
Esperon made the remark as critics questioned the release of the list even without concrete proof being cited.
“Yung aming proseso ay dumadaan sa magkakasamang, combined effort ng mga agencies na members ng Anti-Terrorism Council. Kaya makakasiguro na ang ating pagpapalabas ng listahan ng mga terrorists ay napadaan sa masusing pananaliksik,” Esperon said during the Laging Handa briefing.
In defending the list, Esperon cited the United Nations Security Council which lists terrorist organizations around the globe.
However, the UN list of terrorist organizations identifies only three terror groups based in the Philippines—the Jemaah Islamiyah, the ASG, and the Rajah Solaiman Group.
Esperon also cited President Rodrigo Duterte’s 2017 proclamation declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorist organizations.
“Hindi violation [ng due process] yan kasi mayroon na nga silang mga warrant of arrests tsaka andito sa Section 25 ng Anti-Terrorism Act na maairing mag-designate—iba pa yung proscription,” Esperon said.
“Mayroon na ring proclamation ang ating Pangulo na terrorists sila—CPP-NPA noong December 2017. Itong ginawang ito ng Anti-Terrorism Council ay formalization lamang ng napakarami ng designation sa Communist Party at NPA,” he added.
Under the Anti-Terrorism Act, the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) may identify any individual and organization — whether domestic or foreign — as terrorists after establishing probable cause that they have committed or attempted to commit acts that are defined and penalized under Sections 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 2 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
“Designation plays a critical role in the fight against terrorism and is an effective means to eliminate, prevent or suppress the financing of terrorist acts, the provision of support to entities and persons involved in terrorist acts, the recruitment of members of terrorist groups, and the supply of weapons to terrorists,” the ATC further stated in the resolution.
The Communist Party of the Philippines said the “list of terrorists” is proof that the Anti-Terrorism Law is being used as an “oppressive weapon.”
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