Bank deposits and other assets of the terrorist Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, New People’s Army (NPA), have been put on freeze by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on January 3, 2020.
“The AMLC can already move in the premises at any time after due designation by the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC),” Guevarra told the reporters covering the DOJ through a text message.
Quoting AMLC Executive Director Mel Racela, Guevarra said the AMLC approved its freeze order against the CPP-NPA and other designated terrorist groups last December 23 after the ATC formally designated the organization as a terrorist group.
In a separate message to reporters, Racela clarified the extent of the freeze order.
“There are no accounts under the name of CPP/NPA, but the FO (freeze order) covers the related accounts (RA) of said organization. RA means all accounts opened and maintained for the benefit of said organization, the identification of which the banks and other covered persons will play a very important role,” Racela said.
The freeze order, he said, was issued pursuant to Section 25 of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 (Republic Act 11479) in relation to the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act (R.A. 10168) after the ATC has designated the CPP-NPA as a terror group.
“These statutory provisions are intended to preemptively deprive designated terror organizations of resources to prevent possible terror attacks,” he said.
In a resolution dated December 9, the ATC ruled that it “finds probable cause that the CPP/NPA committed or conspired to commit the acts defined and penalized under Section 4 of the Anti-Terror Act and hereby designates the CPP/NPA as terrorist organizations, associations or groups of persons.”
Sections 35 and 36 of R.A. 11479 authorize the AMLC to scrutinize the finances of organizations or groups of individuals that the ATC had labeled as terrorists.
The same provisions of the law also authorize the AMLC to issue a 20-day freeze order on the assets of these groups extendible by six months upon the approval of the Court of Appeals.
The ATC resolution was based on the DOJ’s enumeration of 12 incidents which it said constitutes terrorist acts of murder, kidnapping, and arson and which proves “that the CPP/NPA continues to commit acts of terror to sow and create a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace in order to coerce the Philippine government to give in to its unlawful demand”.
On Aug. 9, 2002, the United States government designated the CPP-NPA as a foreign terrorist organization and to date continues to include the group in its list.
A similar designation was made by the European Union on Oct. 28, 2002 and reaffirmed on Jan. 13, 2020. Australia also placed the CPP-NPA in its list of terror groups on Oct. 28, 2002 and was relisted in November 2013.
The United Kingdom similarly placed the group on its list on Aug. 14, 2002, and reaffirmed it on July 7, 2020, along with New Zealand which placed it on a similar list in October 2010 and renewed its listing in September 2019. (Benjamin Pulta, PNA)