The Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) designated as terrorists Jose Maria Sison and 18 others it alleged to be members of the central committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People's Army (NPA).
National Security Adviser and ATC Vice-chairperson Hermogenes Esperon Jr. signed Resolution No. 17 on April 21 but the government released the document only on May 13. It followed Resolution No. 12, issued eight months earlier, designating CPP and the NPA as terrorist organizations.
Terrorist designations by the ATC allow the Anti-Money Laundering Council to freeze assets of groups and individuals without a court order. It is a power granted to the council under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020, which critics said violates separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary.
The Supreme Court is currently hearing oral arguments on the constitutionality of the ATA. (PRIMER: 20 questions on the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020)
The ATC is composed exclusively of the appointees of President Rodrigo Duterte, who promised during his presidential campaign that he will complete peace negotiations with the Philippine left. Talks collapsed in February 2017 or less than a year into his presidency.
— PCIJ, May 2021