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Appeals Court lifts freeze order on funds of peasant women’s group

/ 07:37 PM November 19, 2021
The Court of Appeals has lifted the freeze order on the bank account of a peasant women organization red-tagged by the government for allegedly having ties with the communist.

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MANILA, Philippines —The Court of Appeals has lifted the freeze order on the bank account of a peasant women organization red-tagged by the government for allegedly having ties with the communist.

In an order made public Friday, the Court of Appeals former 10th Division lifted the freeze order on the bank account of Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women for lack of probable cause.

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Amihan is an organization of peasant women and a federation of peasant women’s organizations calling for genuine agrarian reform, national industrialization, and an end to all forms of exploitation and discrimination especially against women in the countryside.

How did the case start? Allegations and wrong bank accounts

The organization was accused by two witnesses of using their funds from foreign donors to finance activities involving the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army.

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Last June, the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) has issued a 20 day freeze order to several bank accounts including that of Amihan. The freeze order was issued based on the sworn statement of two rebel returnees. The affidavits were provided by the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA).

Based on their testimonies, the bank accounts receive foreign donations which were used to support several tactical offensive operations.

The AMLC sought a six-month extension of the freeze order because they are still conducting an investigation on the extent of financial support given to the CPP-NPA, the personalities in control of the accounts, determining the specific foreign donors and the appropriate criminal case to be filed.

In opposing the freeze order, Amihan said the focus of the organizations being investigated by the AMLC are operations implemented in Northern Mindanao while their organization is based in Quezon City and never had any projects in the provinces.

The organization added that AMLC also mistakenly attributed a bank account as theirs.

“This error amplifies the irregularity of the AMLC’s Freeze Order, which for the said respondent, is yet another reason why its effectivity should not be extended,” Amihan said.

The Court’s ruling

In lifting the freeze order, the appeals court said: “Nothing in the evidence directly or indirectly implicated respondent Amihan national in the terrorism financing scheme described [by two rebel returnees turned government witnesses].”

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“As such, it would be grossly improper and unjust to include the bank account of Amihan National in the grant of the instant verified petition for the extension of the subject freeze order,” the appeals court added.

The decision is written by Associate Justice Gabriel Robenio and concurred with Associate Justices Manuel Barrios and Alfredo Ampuan.

JPV

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TAGS: communist, freeze order, red tag, terrorist
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