As the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) moved to cut off funding to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New People’s Army (NPA), and the National Democratic Front (NDF), the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) has issued a freeze order on all bank accounts of the leftist bloc the government has designated as terrorist groups.
In a message to reporters on Sunday, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra did not say how many bank accounts or properties are covered by the freeze order.
In a statement, Alex Monteagudo, director general of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) under the Office of the President, said the CPP, NPA and NDF were “partners in terms of the terror war.”
He said it was only a matter of time that evidence would be presented to expose the conspiracy of the three groups through the provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act signed into law last July.
“By nature, the CPP is the party-brains and the NPA is the armed wing
or the organization that wages a bloody war of terrorism. It’s only imperative that they are partners in terms of the terror war, with the party as the head and the force as the body,” Monteagudo said.
The CPP was responsible for thinking of the terrorist acts and tactics while the NPA would execute them, the NICA chief added. “The body will not move without the head’s direction,” he said.
The NDF, meanwhile, serves as the “hands and feet” that block political attacks on the CPP-NPA, serving as the shield that “consolidates the power” of both groups,” Monteagudo added.
When asked what bank accounts or properties are covered by the freeze order, AMLC Executive Director Mel Racela said: “There are no accounts under the name of CPP/ NPA, but the FO 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. Said FO was issued pursuant to Sec. 25 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020 in relation to the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act (RA 10168) after the ATC has designated the CPP-NPA as a terror organization,” Racela said.
“These statutory provisions are intended to preemptively deprive designated terror organizations of resources to prevent possible terror attacks,” he added.
In its Resolution No. 12 dated Dec. 9, 2020, the ATC formally labelled the CPP-NPA as terrorist groups after finding “probable cause that the CPP/NPA committed or conspired to commit the acts defined and penalized under Section 4 of the ATA (Anti-Terrorism Act).”
The ATC resolution, signed by its chairman, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, also cited the petition filed by the Department of Justice seeking to declare the communist group and its armed wing as terrorists and outlawed organizations.
The designation came three years after President Rodrigo Duterte issued Presidential Proclamation No. 374 in December 2017 declaring the CPP and NPA as terrorist groups.
The freeze could deprive the CPP-NPA of at least P5.5 billion in funds, which the government anti-terror body says it extorted in “revolutionary taxes” in four years or from 2016 to 2019.
Section 8 of the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act (RA 10168) provides that any person who knowingly deals with any property or funds of persons or groups designated as terrorists or makes available any property or funds or financial services or other related services to such designated persons faces criminal and civil liability.”
The Duterte administration sprung its Christmas Day “gift” on the CPP-NPA on the eve of their anniversary, as the ATC passed a resolution formally declaring the leftists as enemies of the state and designating them as terrorist groups.
“Alea iacta est (The die is cast). A decision has been made,” the ACT said in a statement. “(It) perfectly describes their current situation.”
The CPP-NPA marked its 52nd founding anniversary on Dec. 26, but the ATC said: “For years it gained ill-repute for its acts of violence, through various forms of deception and multiple means of threatening persons and civilization.”
Headed by Medialdea as chairman with National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon as vice chairman, the ATC was formed by virtue of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, signed into law in July.
The CPP and its armed wing the NPA are now described as terrorists under the ATC along with the Islamic State East Asia, Maute Group, Daulah Islamiyah, “and other groups associated with their acts of terror,” the council said.
The communists’ designation as a terror group was made official with an announcement printed in a national newspaper on Friday.
“Pretending to work for the betterment of the community, the CPP-NPA is able to receive support from international non-government organizations (NGOs) to raise funds and continue perpetuating its rebellious deeds. By striking fear through violence, they also employ extortion and collection of fees during campaign periods. CPP-NPA has been tagged in numerous election-related encounters,” it added.
The ATC also found probable cause to designate the CPP-NPA as a terrorist group “for its violent and armed activities that resulted in the destruction of properties, loss of lives, and damage to business and [the] economy.”
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier renewed his call to members of the CPP-NPA to surrender, assuring them of government assistance if they decide to do so.
In a meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Saturday night, Duterte said CPP-NPA leaders had no more “ideological setup in
their minds,” and nothing to fight for anymore.
“I’m just saying, surrender because your leaders are not doing anything anymore. It’s plain banditry,” he said in Filipino.
On Saturday, the military reported the surrender of a former supply officer and medic of the Komiteng
Larangang Guerilla Sierra Madre (KLG-SM) of the NPA to the 91st Infantry Battalion in Barangay Calbunanan, in Baler, Aurora.
The surrender coincided with the 52nd founding anniversary of the CPP, the political wing of the NPA.