Philippine anti-terrorism law

Vic Ladlad’s wife to AMLC: Lift ‘immoral, unjust’ freeze order on bank accounts

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Vic Ladlad’s wife to AMLC: Lift ‘immoral, unjust’ freeze order on bank accounts

DETAINEE. Activist Vicente Ladlad was arrested in November 2018 for alleged illegal possession of firearms, the usual charge filed against activists.

Fides Lim tells the Anti-Money Laundering Council that Vicente Ladlad's bank accounts consist of the compensation he received as a Martial Law victim

The wife of detained National Democratic Front consultant Vicente Ladlad has appealed to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (ALMC) to lift what she called the “immoral and reprehensible” freezing of her husband’s bank accounts.

In a May 31 letter to central bank governor Benjamin Diokno, the AMLC chair, Fides Lim lamented the “unjust freezing” of the Land Bank of the Philippines accounts of Ladlad, who was arrested in November 2018 for alleged illegal possession of firearms, the usual charge made against activists.

“This latest government action of freezing his legal compensation is a gross injustice that compounds the dark history of Martial Law and victimizes the victim anew with greater suffering. The lifting of the AMLC’s freeze order on his compensation accounts with the LBP will rectify this injustice and assure humanitarian support for his pressing medical needs,” she said.

Lim noted that the bank accounts “consist solely and purely of the compensation that Vic received from the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB) in May 2018 plus the compensation from Attorney Robert Swift in August 2019 from human rights class suits in reparation for Vic’s political imprisonment and torture during Martial Law and for the abduction and enforced disappearance of his first wife Leticia Pascual Ladlad in November 1975.”

“Any investigation would easily reveal the official origin of those deposits and why it is wrongful, in fact immoral and reprehensible, to subject them to any freeze order as this would only perpetuate the injustice and tragedy that those accounts seek to atone for and indemnify,” she said.

“Both Vic and Leticia are in the HRVCB’s first list of ‘conclusively presumed’ victims of gross human rights violations and enshrined in the memorial roll,” she added.

Lim said that these facts are proof that the money in the accounts are “not from money laundering or terrorism financing.”

She said that Ladlad opened the LandBank accounts as required by the HRVCB to facilitate the reparation deposit, and that he decided to keep the accounts despite his lawyers’ advice about asset freeze under the anti-terrorism law.

“Vic decided to keep his LBP accounts because these were opened purposely to facilitate the payment of compensation to him as a victim of martial law and because, should anything happen to me, he would need to shoulder his medical needs and health care,” Lim said.

She said health of 72-year-old Ladlad rapidly deteriorated while in detention, and that he was diagnosed with asthma-chronic obstructive pulmonary disease overlap syndrome in December 2020.

Lim provided the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the HRVCB Board with her letter, which she posted on her Facebook page on Friday, June 4.

Ladlad is among the 19 individuals whom the Anti-Terrorism Council alleged to be central committee members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). The ATC had authorized the AMLC to freeze their assets under the anti-terrorism law, whose constitutionality is being challenged in the Supreme Court.

Under Section 36 of the law, the AMLC is authorized to immediately “freeze without delay” the “property or funds that are in any way related to financing of terrorism.”

The freeze order of AMLC will be effective for 20 days. Before the period lapses, AMLC can seek authority from the Court of Appeals (CA) to extend the freeze order for a period not exceeding 6 months.

The designated people can also go to the CA to challenge the basis of the freeze order. –

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