He urged the public not to vote for these politicians and party-list groups with suspected links to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
Edd Gumban
DILG: 'Don’t vote for bets backing New People’s Army'
Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - February 22, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Over 300 incumbent and former local officials have been providing support to communist rebels, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said yesterday.

Año did not identify the 349 officials, but said they were identified through intelligence reports during the 2016 national and 2018 barangay elections.

He urged the public not to vote for these politicians and party-list groups with suspected links to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

Included in the list are 11 governors, five vice governors, 10 board members, 10 incumbent congressmen and a former congressman.

A total of 55 mayors, 21 vice mayors and 41 councilors are also on the list together with 184 barangay officials, 126 of them barangay captains, Año said.

Also on the list are 11 former local government officials.

Año stressed that the information was not enough to file the necessary cases against them.

“We now have a watchlist, we know you. So if you are supporting communist rebels in any way, you ascertain yourself as a supporter of terrorism and an enemy of the state, you establish yourself as an accomplice to their cause,” the former Armed Forces chief told a news briefing at the Philippine National Police (PNP) national headquarters in Camp Crame.

Año said those in the list were found to be paying the CPP-NPA permit to campaign fees in rebel-infested areas.

Most of the officials are in Northern Mindanao, Bicol, Davao and Cagayan Valley.

“This number is not alarming as compared to the total number of barangays in the country, but it sends a message that extortion starts at the community level, down in the grass roots,” he said.

Based on their estimate, Año said the CPP-NPA collected some P194.5 million in cash from politicians in the past two elections.

“Extortion money comes from everywhere, all across the nation. Whether these officials gave their support voluntarily or involuntarily is immaterial. Politicians and local leaders should shun any connection with these communist rebels,” he said.

The NPA rebels would demand P300,000 to P500,000 as campaign fees for gubernatorial candidates, while those running for mayoral

and vice mayoral posts in urban areas would have to shell out P200,000 to P500,000.

On the other hand, congressional candidates must give P300,000 to P650,000 before communist rebels allow them to campaign in areas which they control.

Año warned candidates not to yield to the extortion demand of rebels and instead seek protection from the government. A candidate could get security if they apply with the Commission on Elections.

Año said supporting these candidates and party-list groups would only make the government efforts of ending the insurgency more difficult to attain, he said.

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