349 local officials gave P195.5m to communists in 2016, 2018 polls: Año
Interior Secretary Eduardo A?o on Thursday revealed that around 349 local officials were allegedly giving funds to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army during election periods.
“We now hold a watchlist of local chief executives from governor down to barangay councilors and other barangay officials who are allegedly supporting CTGs (Communist Terrorist Groups) including the New People’s Army by giving them extortion money,” Ano said in a press conference in Camp Crame.
He did not name these officials.
A?o said this watchlist is based on the reports from the intelligence community during 2016 national and 2018 barangay elections.
Of the 349 officials, 11 were provincial governors; five were vice governors; 10 were provincial board members; 55 were mayors; 21 were vice mayors and 41 were councilors.
Also in the list are 126 barangay captains, 50 barangay councilors, and eight other barangay officials.
"A total of 349 people are giving money to the terrorist that’s why they can still operate. Can you just imagine that? Our own government officials giving funds to the enemy," said A?o.
Other sources of extortion are 11 former local government unit officials, ten incumbent congressman, and one former congressman.
The highest number of officials who are paying rebels are from the Bicol region at 154 and fewer in the Zamboanga Region, with two.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said fees being collected by the communist rebels range from 300,000 to 650,000 pesos for governor; 75,000 to 100,000 pesos for vice governor; 50,000 to 60,000 pesos for board member; 200,000 to 500,000 pesos for city mayor and vice mayor; 50,000 to 100,000 pesos for municipal mayor; 25,000 to 50,000 pesos for municipal vice mayor; 10,000 to 50,000 pesos for city councilor; 5,000 to 25,000 pesos for municipal councilor; and 50,000 to 100,000 pesos for barangay officials.
The DILG chief said the CPP-NPA were able to gained a total of P195.5-million from their extortion activities during the 2016 and 2018 polls.
Officials who supported the communist rebels may face administrative and criminal sanctions under the Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code and Section 4 of the Republic Act 10168.
“We can file several cases against these candidates, especially to the incumbent, disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines. They can face suspension or removal from office especially the elected government officials,” said A?o.
“On criminal case, we can apply the section 4 of Republic Act 10168 which we called Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012. If you give support to the enemies of the state especially on the terrorist group, they can be jailed,” he explained.
Ano assured politicians authorities can protect them and there is no need to seek protection from the rebels.
“The DILG issued a directive to the Philippine National Police after noting the surge of killings in the recent months which appears to be politically motivated to step up measures to ensure the safety and security of local officials and candidates in the 2019 midterm elections,” he said.
Ano warned those politicians who are giving funds to the communist rebels.
“Just to reiterate to our election candidates, if you pay ‘permit to campaign fees’ to these illicit groups, you are ascertaining yourself as an accomplice to their cause,” he said
He added it automatically makes them a supporter of communist rebels and enemy of the government.
The DILG recently released Memorandum Circular 2018-211 reminding all local chief executives and LGU officials that giving any form of support to communist rebels is a violation not only of Executive Order 733 but also of RA 10168.
Ano urged the public to not vote for these kind of candidates.
“I have a personal plea to everyone. You may think that the battle against CTGs can be won only through military efforts, but to win this battle and attain lasting peace, the government needs all of you,” he said.
“Let’s not support the activities of the leftist group, of the CTGs. Let’s not vote those who are involve in this group. Even from local government, in the Senate, Congress and even the partylist groups (leftist groups). In this way, we can help in suppressing the communist terrorism,” said Ano.
Asked about the release of the narco-politicians list, A?o said he will meet with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Aaron Aquino.
“I will talk to the PDEA Director because his agency is the one mandated to have this official list that we called narco list. So they are the one who can give the list to the public,” he said.
“We will look if the list is very well listed and if there is really a basis for it so that it will be fair to other candidates,” he added.
For their part, PDEA said they will release the list once they are ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte. Ella Dionisio/DMS