Lacson: Dismissal of proscription case vs CPP-NPA not a setback to anti-terror law | Inquirer News

Lacson: Dismissal of proscription case vs CPP-NPA not a setback to anti-terror law

/ 03:28 AM September 23, 2022
Panfilo “Ping” Lacson

FILE PHOTO Former Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson

MANILA, Philippines — Former senator Panfilo Lacson maintained that the decision of a Manila court to dismiss petitions seeking to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines and the the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) as terrorists is not a setback to the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020.

Lacson, a strong proponent and the author of the law, said that the Manila Regional Trial Court’s decision to junk the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) petition for proscription is pursuant to the ‘Saving Clause’ provision which the ATA itself provided.

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Thus, Lacson said, it “should not in any way be interpreted as a setback for the law itself.”

The former lawmaker also explained that this is basically the reason why proscription is relegated to the wisdom of the court, as it may involve the detention of individuals and members of organizations suspected of violating the ATA.

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“That being said, that is exactly the reason why ‘proscription’ is designed to be the exclusive authority of the judiciary since it could involve possible detention of individuals and members of organizations suspected to be violating the Act, hence due process of law must be strictly observed,” Lacson said.

“Unlike ‘designation’ which only involves preliminary freezing of bank accounts and assets of those involved in terrorist financing, and which the Anti Terrorism Council is given the authority to perform since it is merely an administrative act,” he explained.

Earlier, the Manila court dismissed the DOJ petition which would have granted the department clearance from the Court of Appeals to conduct wiretapping activities, freezing, and viewing bank accounts of CPP-NPA leaders and members.

READ: Huge setback for gov’t as court nixes bid to declare CPP-NPA terror org 

CPP-NPA said that the court’s decision was a pleasant surprise, with CPP spokesperson Marco Valbuena adding that the party’s action plans are “reasonable aspirations of any civilized society”.

The Anti-Terrorism Act was signed into law on July 3, 2020, and took effect on July 18.  However, there were 37 petitions filed before the Supreme Court in a bid to contest the law’s constitutionality.

While the high court said that most of the ATA is constitutional, two parts are not — Section 4 and Section 25 which it said are overbroad and violate freedom of expression. — With reports from Kristelle Razon, INQUIRER.net trainee

RELATED STORY:

DOJ to appeal Manila court’s ruling vs terrorist tag on CPP-NPA

Lacson: Anti-terror law still a win for peace even if parts of it declared unconstitutional 

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TAGS: Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, CPP-NPA, Manila RTC, Panfilo Lacson
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