This kind of “threat” worked in the past: Mighty’s P40-billion tax settlement; Philippine Airlines’ settling a P6-billion obligation to the government; the Mile Long property taken over by government; and the rehabilitation of Boracay, to name a few cases that did not need to undergo lengthy and expensive court litigation – and I would say has therefore served its purpose, rightly or wrongly.
Whether the government takeover of telcos is justified and compliant with the provisions of the Constitution, given the circumstances, is another matter altogether, however.
Having said that, telcos should treat the President’s pronouncement as a wake-up call to improve their services to the public, as one thing in the President’s statement on the issue is certain and true: that our country’s telecommunications services pale in comparison with our neighbors and with other jurisdictions in terms of speed and efficiency.
But what the President failed to issue is a similar warning to some local government unit executives who extort money from the telcos in exchange for permits and licenses as well as “protection” from delays in the construction of such facilities, especially in areas where the presence of armed groups like the CPP-NPA is strong.
To the Inquirer: Please allow us to set the record straight regarding some points raised by former Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio in his Inquirer column, where he said Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson, along with President Duterte, are “sadly mistaken” with regard to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) as terrorists.
Obviously, the President was referring to the designation of the CPP-NPA as a terrorist group by the Anti-Terrorism Council in late 2017 as authorized by Sec. 11 of Republic Act 10168, the Terrorist Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012, following the standards set by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373. It paved the way for the filing of a proscription case by the DOJ, which is now pending before a Manila Regional Trial Court.
Among the provisions of the newly signed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 is a restatement of Sec. 11 under RA 10168 – we simply added the mechanism for the freezing of assets by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).
Thus, there is nothing illegal in the action by the Chief Executive to proclaim that the CPP-NPA is a designated terrorist organization after the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) has ruled on the matter.
What I simply clarified when asked to comment on the declaration made by the President is the difference between designationand proscription. Designation is administrative and can be exercised by the Executive Branch through the ATC, while proscription is judicial which only the RTC (under the now-repealed Human Security Act of 2007) and the Court of Appeals (under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020) has the power to decide.
In the case of proscription, the burden of proof lies with the Department of Justice. Even membership of a proscribed terrorist organization undergoes the same due process of law – meaning the Court of Appeals will decide who may be identified as members and subsequently arrested.
Unfortunately, designation and proscription have been used interchangeably – and conveniently at that – by critics of the Anti-Terrorism Law to advance their purpose of asserting that mere designation may result in arrest and detention, thus giving the ATC judicial powers under RA 11479 – which is wrong, if not malicious.
If in “declaring” a group, organization or association as a terrorist organization, the President is referring to its proscription, there is a judicial process involved – meaning full court intervention via the Court of Appeals, complete with due notice and hearing.
Under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, only the Court of Appeals can order the proscription – not the Anti-Terrorism Council, nor the President. Further, the burden of proof lies with the Department of Justice. Even membership in a proscribed terrorist group goes through the same due process which the DOJ has to prove.
On the other hand, if the President is referring to the designation of a terrorist individual, group and organization by the ATC, it does not involve arrest and detention but a mere signal for the ATC to request the Anti-Money Laundering Council to issue a freeze order of the accounts and assets of the designated terrorist person or group.
That said, designation for the purpose of freezing the accounts and assets is not exempt from judicial scrutiny since the said designated individual or group can still file a petition with the CA to appeal such freezing of their accounts. Designation follows the guidelines and standards set by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373. It is not absolute or discretionary on the part of the ATC.
Therefore, the “declaration” is a personal opinion of the President, not official. The trial of the proscription case against the CPP-NPA is still pending before the Manila RTC. With the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, the trial will be transferred to a division of the Court of Appeals to be authorized by the Supreme Court.
While I can easily relate to Philippine Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay and understand how he feels about the Army officers slain in Sulu, emotions running high at this point is the last thing they need.
For all they know, their common enemies such as the terrorists and armed insurgents are already celebrating the Sulu incident – and even making plans to exploit it.
These enemies of the State and our people, through their legal fronts, are very capable of fanning the flames of animosity between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police by creating intrigues to further divide the country’s two major security forces.
Dahil marami nang nagbabalik-loob sa pamahalaan o kaya ay sumusuko sa mga awtoridad, nag-level up na ng mga “fronts” ng New People’s Army (NPA) na siraan ang Anti-Terrorism Bill (ATB).
Sa impormasyong nakalap ni Senador Panfilo Lacson, ang pagkakalat ng maling impormasyon laban sa ATB ay ginagawa umano ng mga grupo at indibiduwal na kaalyado o nakikisimpatiya sa NPA.
“An Army commander reported that in anticipation of the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Bill, the NPAs have started surrendering. 27 in just 2 days in Quezon, Laguna and Mindoro alone. Many more are sending surrender feelers. That is why, he said, their fronts have become busier with their disinformation campaign,” pagbubunyag ni Lacson sa kanyang Twitter account.
Fronts of the communist New People’s Army – and their “allies” – have become busier in their disinformation campaign against the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 over the weekend, as more of their comrades surrender to authorities.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson bared this on Sunday as he urged the public to read a provision in the bill that those behind the intensified smear drive have conveniently skipped.
“An Army commander reported that in anticipation of the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Bill, the NPAs have started surrendering. 27 in just 2 days in Quezon, Laguna and Mindoro alone. Many more are sending surrender feelers. That is why, he said, their fronts have become busier with their disinformation campaign,” he said on his Twitter account.
In an interview on DWIZ Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– ‘early’ signing of the 2020 budget in January 2020
– reinstatement of cops acquitted in Maguindanao massacre case
– NPA hit list and anti-terror bill
– assessment of 2019 and expectations in 2020
Hindi dapat kay Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison nakatutok ang gobyerno sa pakikipagusap sa rebeldeng komunista upang makamit ng bansa ang napakatagal nang hangad na kapayapaan.
Idiniin ito ni Senador at dating Philippine National Police chief Panfilo Lacson matapos magpakita ng malinaw na indikasyon ang Malacanang ng muling pag-upo sa negotiating table sa usapang pangkapayapaan.
Kabilang sa mga positibong hakbang ng Malacanang ay ang pagbuo ng panel na makikipag-usap sa mga rebelde, partikular sa mga hindi nakikinig kay Sison.
Ayon kay Lacson, matagal na niyang isinusulong ang nabanggit na sistema kasama ang localized peace effort para direkta umanong makakakapagpalitan ng kondisyones ang magkabilang grupo.
“Such a move is long in coming. I have always believed that this is the better way to deal with the five-decade insurgency problem,” pagbubunyag ni Lacson.