The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday said it will push through with its petition to outlaw the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People's Army (NPA) after the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) designated the organizations as terrorist organizations.
"Proscription petition will proceed," Justice Undersecretary Adrian Sugay said in a message to reporters.
The petition to outlaw the groups has been pending with a Manila court since 2018.
The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) on Monday said it has not seen any account under the name of the Communist Party of the Philippines or its armed wing, New People’s Army, but it is leaning on the persons and banks which are covered by the freeze order it issued earlier against the CPP-NPA in identifying the leftist groups’ related bank accounts.
AMLC Executive Director Mel Racela said the council is banking on the role of the persons and banks covered by the freeze order it issued last Dec. 23, 2020 in identifying related accounts being used or maintained directly or indirectly by the CPP-NPA, which have been labelled by the Anti-Terrorism Council as terrorist groups.
"The FO (freeze order) makes general reference to the "CPP/NPA and related accounts (RA)" only. The covered persons including banks will play a very important role in identifying these RAs because they will have the information to determine whether or not an account or accounts are being used or maintained directly or indirectly by said designated CPP/NPA," Racela said in a text message to reporters.
"Based on available data, we have not seen any account under the name of CPP/NPA for obvious reasons. So we are still at zero at this time," the AMLC executive director added.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the immediate effect of the designation of CPP-NPA as terrorist group is “to subject the assets of the designated groups to the authority of the AMLC to freeze.”
“Detention without a judicial warrant of arrest, on the other hand, may happen only in case the suspected person has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit any of the acts defined and penalized under secs 4-12 of the ATA (Anti-Terror Act) in the presence of the arresting officer, or when the arresting officer has probable cause, based on his personal knowledge, that the suspect was the perpetrator of any such punishable acts which has just been committed,” Guevarra said, playing down fears that warrantless arrests may soon follow.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, said it was unlikely that security forces would recommend a resumption of peace talks with the communists.
“Peacetalks are just part and parcel of their long-drawn strategy to consolidate their forces and stop the momentum gained by the security forces,” Lacson said of the communists.
The former chief added that while we should not give up on peace, we should learn from the experiences of the past.
Lacson said it is better to have localized peace efforts with guidance and support from the national government.