Philippines: AMLC begins freezing accounts ‘related’ to National Democratic Front
20 Jul 2021

The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) will now begin freezing accounts related to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) after the anti-terror council designated the group as terrorists.

“The AMLC issued resolution No. TF.42 Series of 2021 directing the issuance of sanctions freeze order to take effect immediately against the NDF also known as the NDFP, pursuant to its designation as terrorist by the ATC Resolution No. 21 dated June 23, and the freezing without delay of the following property or funds, including related accounts,” said an AMLC notice posted Monday, July 19.

The ATC designated the NDF as a terror group, a move feared being used by the government to more easily target political dissenters. The NDF had been engaged in peace talks with the government and had tapped many consultants and other progressive individuals who worked with the peace negotiating panel.

The AMLC said in its notice that the target accounts are “not limited to those that are directly related or can be tied to a particular terrorist act, plot, or threat.”

Related accounts can mean any person, corporation and instrumentality which “deal directly or indirectly, in any way and by any means, with any property or fund that he knows or has reasonable ground to believe is owned or controlled by the NDF, also known as the NDFP, including funds derived or generated from property or funds owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the NDF, also known as the NDFP.”

The AMLC will also target people, corporations and instrumentalities that “make available any property or funds, or financial services or other related services to the NDF, also known as the NDFP.”

All those identified “shall be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law pursuant to Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act,” said the AMLC in its notice.

Automatic freezing

In defending the contested anti-terror law to the Supreme Court, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) said that designation has no automatic penalty, and that due process is observed.

“Designation by the ATC does not automatically result in the freezing of assets. The determination of the need to freeze assets is still within the authority of the AMLC, with the intervention of no less than the Court of Appeals,” said the OSG in its memorandum submitted to the Supreme Court.

But the AMLC issued resolution No. TF.42 on July 19, the Monday that followed the posting of the ATC of its designation over the weekend – in contradiction of the OSG memorandum.

AMLC’s notice also said they are directing the issuance of the sanctions freeze order “to take effect immediately” against the NTF “pursuant to its designation as terrorist by the Anti-Terrorism Council.”

By Lian Buan, Rappler, 20 July 2021

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