“Gently in manner, firmly in action/deed”, this is the general translation of the title of this column and mentioned in the last sentence of the conclusion of an examination of the Philippines Anti-terror law passed previously as the Human Security Act of 2007 (HSA) by Brent H. Lew an author and lawyer in the US. His observation on the legality of Republic Act No. 9372 otherwise known as the Human Security Act of 2007, as determined by the Supreme Court (SC), provides ample insight on how the Supreme Court evaluated anti-terror laws and eventually laid the foundation of Republic Act 11479 otherwise known as the Anti-Terror Act of 2020 which subsequently repealed R.A. 9372.

Republic Act 11479 otherwise known as the AntiTerrorism Act of 2020 is an enhancement and modification of the HSA and is generally recognized as a tool of the government that is utilized to
prevent and suppress terrorism from taking root in the country. The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 caught the attention of the public, specially here in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), after the AntiTerrorism Council (ATC) designated four CAR activists as terrorists applying Section
25 of the said law which states, “ Section 25.

Designation of Terrorist Individual, Groups of Persons, Organizations or Associations.- Pursuant to our obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) No. 1373, the ATC shall automatically adopt the United Nations Security Council Consolidated List of designated individuals, group of persons, organizations, or associations designated and/or identified as a terrorist, one who finances terrorism, or a terrorist organization or group. The ATC may designate an individual, groups of persons, organization, or association, whether domestic or foreign, upon a finding of probable cause that the individual, groups of persons, organization, or association
commit, or attempt to commit, or conspire in the commission of the acts defined and penalized under Sections 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 of this Act.

The assets of the designated individual, groups of persons, organization or association above-mentioned shall be subject to the authority of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to freeze pursuant to Section 11 of Republic Act No. 10168. The designation shall be without prejudice to the proscription of terrorist organizations, associations, or groups of persons under Section 26 of
this Act.” Just to be clear about it this is not just the so called “redtagging” allegedly being done by the government against those perceived to be leftleaning and allied with those branded as communists and belonging to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed group the New Peoples Army (NPA).

This is a designation declared and issued by the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) in accordance with the pertinent provisions of the Anti-terrorism Act of 2020 thru its resolution ATC No. 41. This cannot be taken lightly. Either by those designated as terrorists thru the said resolution or the ATC in its capacity as the implementer of the law against terrorism. The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) already issued an urgent appeal seeking the revocation of ATC resolution No. 41 designating
some CAR activists in the region as terrorists. In their statement the CPA points out that, “Founded in 1984, CPA is an alliance of Indigenous Peoples’ organizations and sectoral formations in the Cordillera, Philippines promoting Indigenous Peoples’ rights, rights and welfare, democracy and social justice.

The CPA and its leaders, including Windel Bolinget, Jennifer Awingan, Sarah Abellon-Alikes and Steve Tauli, are neither leaders nor members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and New Peoples Army (NPA) which were declared terrorist organizations by the Duterte government in 2018 and has been the basis of the terrorist labelling of CPA and its leaders.” Obviously however the appeal for the revocation of the said ATC resolution is not enough and may need other
remedies that may be provided by law. But what is actually more significant is the fact that the
government is now taking a more aggressive stance in confronting those it perceives
as enemies of the State and democracy using legitimate means such as the law.

The antiterror law in fact provides an opportunity for government to legally classify and run after
those whose interests are opposed to or deemed inimical to the welfare of the people in particular and the State in general. Does the Anti-Terror Law allow the government and its agents unfettered authority and opportunity to commit abuses and repressive acts against the very people it serves? May be, but that will depend on how the courts will ultimately decide on whether abuses were committed in the implementation of the said law.

However, from a general standpoint anybody who would wish, intend and act to destroy the democratic system of the country by replacing it with a communist regime is to be definitely considered an enemy of the state. It is well to remember that the anti-terror law has already been questioned concerning its constitutionality and the Supreme Court came out with a decision that, with the exception or two provisions, the said law is constitutional.

Amianan Balita Ngayon