Gov't to publish names of designated terrorists; appeals for delisting can be filed after

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 17) — A list of persons and entities designated by the Anti-Terrorism Council to be "terrorists" will be published in a national broadsheet and online, giving the tagged individuals 15 days to file a request for delisting.

These are among the implementing rules and regulations of the Ant-Terrorism Act, posted on the website of the Department of Justice on Saturday.

The highly contested law gives the executive Anti-Terrorism Council the authority to designate individuals and groups as terrorists, allowing the Anti-Money Laundering Council to freeze their assets. Those designated can only be proscribed or outlawed by the Court of Appeals.

According to law, the ATC automatically adopts the United Nations Security Council’s consolidated list of terrorists, terrorist organizations, and their financiers. It shall also handle requests made by foreign or supranational jurisdictions on the designation of certain groups or individuals, a process that shall be coursed through the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Meanwhile, the ATC shall on its own designate persons and organizations as terrorists upon finding of a probable cause. Those who commit any act considered as terrorism under Sections 4 to 12 of the law, as well as those who attempt or conspire to commit the crime shall be designated as terrorists.

An entity owned or controlled by a designated terrorist or terrorist organization shall also be designated, along with the person or entity "acting on behalf of or at the direction of" the designee.

READ: When can protests be considered terrorism?

The list of designated persons and entities shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation, and on the online official gazette and website of the ATC. It shall include the name of the designee “and other identifier information,” a brief description of the case, and the date of designation.

Mistaken identity, other grounds for delisting

Once published, the designated party may file a verified request for delisting before the ATC within 15 days. Grounds for delisting include the following:

• mistaken identity;

• relevant and significant change of facts or circumstance;

• newly discovered evidence;

• death of designee;

• dissolution or liquidation of designated organizations, associations, or groups; or

• proof that the basic for designation no longer exists

Resolutions on delisting shall also be published in print and online.

The ATC, on its own, or upon request of a designee, may also file a petition for delisting with the UNSC, while other international designations can only be repealed once delisted by the concerned foreign or supranational body.

Designation is valid for three years, after which the ATC will review if the basis for designation still exists.

'ATC has no judicial, quasi-judicial authority'

Law experts, framers of the Constitution and human rights advocates have asked the Supreme Court to junk the anti-terrorism law, saying the expansion of the ATC’s authority encroaches on judicial power.

READ: UN rights chief asks Duterte not to enact anti-terrorism bill

The National Union of Peoples' Lawyers said in a statement the IRR only validated its position that the law is “overbroad and vague,” adding that they are considering legal options to contest the implementing rules.

Meanwhile, the IRR states, “Nothing in the Act shall be interpreted to empower the ATC to exercise any judicial or quasi-judicial authority."

It adds that the designation of individuals or groups as terrorists “shall be without prejudice to the proscription.” This involves six months of hearings by the Court of Appeals upon the Department of Justice’s application to declare or outlaw a person or organization as terrorist.

Proscription, like designation, shall take effect for three years, after which the court will decide whether the order should be lifted or re-issued. Officials have explained that designation would not automatically warrant an arrest, while a proscribed individual or group would face tough penalties.

Under the law, terrorist acts are punishable with life imprisonment without the benefit of parole, while those who threaten, conspire, propose, and incite to commit terrorism, or are considered accessory to the crime, get 12 years in jail.

Warrantless arrests

One of the most challenged provisions of the law, Section 29, allows all law enforcement agents and military personnel authorized by the ATC to arrest suspected terrorists without warrant and detain them without charges for up to 24 days.

Under the IRR, the law enforcement agent or soldier should first submit to the ATC a sworn statement containing information on the person suspected of terrorism, and the basis for the planned warrantless arrest. The ATC will then decide whether to give the arresting officer written authority or not.

A law enforcement agent or military personnel who conducts a warrantless arrest without this written authority should bring the suspect to court within 36 hours. However, they can push through with the detention if they secure a written authority from the ATC within the 36-hour period.

Authorities only need to inform the nearest trial court of the arrest within 48 hours from apprehension, with copies furnished to the ATC and the Commission on Human Rights. The Human Security Act, the law amended by the new measure, requires that the suspect is presented to the judge after the warrantless arrest.

“With regard to the 48-hour notice rule, we took into consideration limitations on the ground especially where the law enforcement operations are undertaken in very remote areas," Justice Undersecretary Adrian Sugay said.