The Philippine National Police yesterday warned candidates who may pay “permit to campaign fees” to the New People’s Army that it is punishable under the Revised Penal Code.
PNP chief Alan Purisima, in a statement, said, “If proven that the ‘fee’ was made as part of a conspiracy to overthrow the government, the ‘donor’ may be held liable as co-conspirator in the crime of rebellion”.
“Incumbent government officials campaigning for re-election remain to be government officials, thus, their culpability in this extortion scheme of the NPA thru so-called ‘campaign fees’ will be further aggravated by a violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Government Officials,” he added.
In past elections, the 61st Infantry Battalion seized several copies of permit to campaign, or PTC, forms from three rebel suspects nabbed in southern Negros. One of them was killed later in an encounter with the 47th IB in Candoni, Negros Occidental last year.
Col. Oscar Lactao, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, admitted that the rebel group remains as the biggest security threat in the May 13 elections in Negros Occidental despite their reduced strength, from 1,200 in the late 1980s to only about 200 since last year.
The PNP is also monitoring partisan armed groups that may be activated by candidates during the campaign period in the province.
Purisima has ordered police commanders to coordinate with the Armed Forces in preventing rebels from collecting permit to campaign, permit to win andelectoral alliance fees.
The military had claimed the NPA started the “collection” of campaign fees, ranging from P50,000 to P5 million, from politicians in the Visayas and Luzon.
Citing documents recovered from the NPA, P5 million is being demanded from gubernatorial candidates, P500,000 from congressional and vice-gubernatorial bets, P100,000 from those running for board member and mayor, P75,000 for vice-mayoral candidates and P50,000 for councilor-aspirants, military records show.
Major. Gen. Jose Mabanta, 3rd Infantry Division, has appealed to candidates who have received extortion letters from the NPA, to immediately coordinate with the police or military for appropriate action.*GPB
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