Basilan court declares Abu Sayyaf a terrorist group

A report in the Philippine Daily Inquirer cited a report to officials including Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. indicating Filipinos are among the Southeast Asians being lured to conflict zones in the Middle East. Some Islamic militants are home-grown, just like the Abu Sayyaf (in photo), who have links with al-Qaeda terrorists. (Photo from http://vkb.isvg.org/Wiki/Groups/Abu_Sayyaf_Group_(ASG))

A report in the Philippine Daily Inquirer cited a report to officials including Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. indicating Filipinos are among the Southeast Asians being lured to conflict zones in the Middle East. Some Islamic militants are home-grown, just like the Abu Sayyaf (in photo), who have links with al-Qaeda terrorists. (Photo from http://vkb.isvg.org/Wiki/Groups/Abu_Sayyaf_Group_(ASG))

MANILA (Mabuhay) — The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) is now officially recognized as a terrorist group under the Human Security Act of 2007.

This was after Judge Danilo Bucoy of the Regional Trial Court Branch 9 in Isabela City, Basilan granted a request from the Department of Justice to declare the armed group as a terrorist and outlawed organization.

In a 19-page resolution, a copy of which the Department of Justice released to the media on Friday, the Basilan court took into consideration the “essential elements” to declare someone or a group as a terrorist under RA 9370 or the Human Security Act of 2007.

The court said the preamble of the ASG’s Charter showed that the group is “resolute and determined to use whatever means, including terrorism, if only to achieve its purpose, that is, to supplant the existing form of government with their own version of an Islamic State.”

The court said though the word “terrorism” is not stated in the preamble, its concept and essence were “all over it and are, therefore, deemed written into it.”

The court also gave weight to documents and testimonies from four witnesses that showed the ASG used acts to terrorize and sow a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace.

“These witnesses have passed the court’s careful and intense scrutiny regarding their demeanor, attitude and mannerism on the witness stand. The court find them credible,” said the court.

“In fact, these witnesses deserve praise and commendation for their courage and audacity to stand against this violent, treacherous and vicious organization,” it added.

The court said the ASG was also guilty of coercing the government to comply with their unlawful demands or else they would kill their victims. Among these demands are ransom or the pull out of troops from areas of ASG’s operations.

The court also acknowledged that the ASG was given due notice and opportunity to be heard but no written or oral opposition was submitted by the group to the court.

“Wherefore, in view of all the foregoing… and after due notice and hearing, the organizations commonly known as the Abu Sayyaf Group and/or Al-Harakatul Al-Islamiyya is hereby declared a terrorist organization,” ruled the court.(MNS)

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