Candidates who may enter the so-called New People’s Army territories to campaign for the May 13 elections, must secure permission from duly authorized revolutionary committees, the Communist Party of the Philippines said yesterday.
In a statement, it issued, the CPP said that without exception, all candidates and their political parties who plan to conduct political activities within territories said to be under the authority of the People’s Democratic Government must abide by all prevailing guidelines that seek to ensure that they do not violate the people’s rights and interests.
Maj. Gen. Jose Mabanta, the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division commander, however, debunked the existence of the so-called NPA territories in Negros and Panay and his statement was echoed by Col. Oscar Lactao, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander.
Mabanta said they could provide road security to candidates, who may receive threats from the NPA, if the need arises.
The CPP said candidates and their representatives will be allowed access to territories of the People’s Democratic Government to conduct their political campaigns as long as they comply with the guidelines, including prohibitions against bringing along private armed goons or their military, police, or paramilitary escorts.
Candidates are not to intimidate, threaten or coerce the people or employ violence against opposing political camps, and engage in vote-buying activities or to bribe community leaders in exchange for votes.
The Philippine National Police warned candidates who may pay “permit to campaign fees” to the NPA that the act is punishable under the Revised Penal Code.
PNP chief Alan Purisima 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 government officials, thus, their culpability in this extortion scheme of the NPA through so-called ‘campaign fees’ will be further aggravated by a violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Government Officials,” Purisima added.
In past elections, the 61st Infantry Battalion seized several copies of permits 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.
The CPP also prohibits the entry of candidates who are guilty of serious crimes against the people, and the revolutionary movement. *GPB