U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim meets Philippine Prosecutors during the Inaugural National Convention of Counterterrorism Prosecutors

Manila,  September 6, 2019 — Ambassador Kim joined 70 prosecutors from across the country, including 44 prosecutors from Mindanao, in opening the National Convention of Counterterrorism (CT) Prosecutors in Manila.  The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, through the U.S. Department of Justice (U.S. DOJ) Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training (OPDAT), partnered with the Philippine Department of Justice to help increase bilateral cooperation and promote best practices in investigating and prosecuting terrorism cases.

Ambassador Kim conveyed in his remarks his tremendous respect for the work prosecutors do, and stressed that terrorism has to be addressed comprehensively, which requires military, prosecutorial and other tools, including addressing social causes.  He emphasized that since terror acts are dynamic and increasing, it is critical that countries embrace new investigative tools, such as digital forensics and financial analysis, in order to prevent future acts of terrorism.

The workshop introduced prosecutors to a wide range of counterterrorism measures, including amending terrorism laws to stop terrorist acts before they occur, new investigative techniques, including wiretapping and consensual recordings, cyber-terrorism investigations, utilizing international cooperation and legal assistance, and proscription of terrorist groups.

During the workshop, American Speakers, including Ovie Carroll, Digital Forensics Laboratory Director for USDOJ Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section, and David Bragdon, OPDAT Resident Legal Advisor,  shared their expertise with the prosecutors.  Philippine Congressman Rozzano Rufino Biazon, and the Office of Senator Lacson discussed proposed amendments to the Philippine CT Law and Sulu Provincial Prosecutor Annie Marie Pierreangeli P. Ledesma delivered a presentation on terrorist attacks in the Philippines.  Other speakers included Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony D. Fadullon, and Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter L. Ong.

In addition to lectures, the program provided opportunities for prosecutors to meet in small groups, identify challenges and concerns, share best practices, and focus on how to strengthen CT prosecutions.