DOJ sees full blast drive vs. corruption, terrorism in 2021

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday said the government’s all-out war on corruption and terrorism will hit full stride next year while gradually mitigating the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

“For 2021, we shall base our plans upon the assumption that the department could go full speed by the middle of the year when restrictions on physical movements and interactions might gradually be lifted upon the arrival of the much-awaited vaccines,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told reporters.

He added that in particular, the DOJ will “intensify its role in the campaign against terrorism, corruption in government, and illegal drugs, as well as in the protection of human rights.”

The DOJ has been tasked by President Rodrigo Duterte to spearhead the government’s anti-corruption campaign and has since identified threshold transactions in a number of government agencies on top of its investigation.

It is also a key implementing agency of the Anti Terrorism Act passed by Congress as a response to the threat of transnational terrorist groups.

This month, bank deposits and other assets of the terrorist Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, New People’s Army (NPA), have been put on freeze by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) after the organization was formally designated a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC).

The freeze order covers the related accounts (RA) of said organization referring to accounts opened and maintained for the benefit of said organization and was issued pursuant to Section 25 of Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020 in relation to Republic Act 10168 or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act.

In a resolution dated Dec. 9, the ATC ruled that it “finds probable cause that the CPP-NPA committed or conspired to commit the acts defined and penalized under Section 4 of the Anti-Terror Act and hereby designates the CPP-NPA as terrorist organizations, associations or groups of persons.”

Sections 35 and 36 of RA 11479 authorize the AMLC to scrutinize the finances of organizations or groups of individuals that the ATC had labeled as terrorists.

The same provisions of the law also authorize the AMLC to issue a 20-day freeze order on the assets of these groups extendible by six months upon the approval of the Court of Appeals.

The ATC resolution was based on the DOJ’s enumeration of 12 incidents which it said constitutes terrorist acts of murder, kidnapping, and arson and which proves “that the CPP/NPA continues to commit acts of terror to sow and create a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace in order to coerce the Philippines government to give in to its unlawful demand”.

On Aug. 9, 2002, the United States government designated the CPP-NPA as a foreign terrorist organization and to date continues to include the group in its list.

A similar designation was made by the European Union on Oct. 28, 2002, and reaffirmed on Jan. 13, 2020. Australia also placed the CPP-NPA in its list of terror groups on Oct. 28, 2002 and was relisted in November 2013.

The United Kingdom similarly placed the group on its list on Aug. 14, 2002, and reaffirmed it on July 7, 2020, along with New Zealand which placed it on a similar list in October 2010 and renewed its listing in September 2019.

Source: Philippines News agency

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