MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday warned candidates of the 2022 elections not to pay “permit to campaign” fees to the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s’ Army (CPP-NPA) or else they may face disqualification.
The said fees, said DILG Sec. Eduardo Año, is a modus operandi and a “clear form of extortion and defilement of the sanctity of the right to suffrage” under the Memorandum Circular 2019-26.
“Huwag po tayong magpaloko at matakot. Ang ibabayad n’yong extortion money sa mga komunista ay gagamitin din nila para makapaghasik ng terorismo sa bansa,” warned Año.
(Let us not be fooled and afraid. The extortion money you pay to the communists will also be used to sow terrorism in the country.)
In the said directive, Año tasked local government units (LGUs) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to ensure that all candidates are allowed entrance in every LGU even to areas considered as hotspots for insurgency — the same goes for civilians who wish to participate in political assemblies.
“All local officials should steer clear of directly or indirectly giving financial, material and political support to the CPP-NPA since this is a clear violation of law. This is something that the DILG under my leadership will never tolerate,” he said.
According to DILG Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya, the agency is committed in filing disqualification cases against candidates who will be proven to have supported and cooperated with the CPP-NPA.
“Supporting communist terrorist groups through financing or other means is an election offense and is sufficient to cause the disqualification of a candidate,” said Malaya.
“We will follow through on our words, those politicians who will be proven as accomplices of the CPP-NPA will face disqualification cases from the DILG,” he said.
Section 4 of Republic Act 10168 known as ‘The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012’ states that any person who finances terrorist groups to carry out or facilitate the commission of any terrorist act, by a terrorist organization, association or group, or by an individual terrorist, shall be guilty of the crime of financing terrorism.
Malaya added that under RA 10168, the crime of financing terrorism is punishable by the penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua, and a fine of not less than P500,000 to not more than P1,000,000.
It is also punishable under Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines which can render the accused “permanent disqualification to hold public office” with imprisonment of one to six years.