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Government probes politicians, firms, NGOs for 'financial support' to rebels

Artemio Dumlao - Philstar.com
Government probes politicians, firms, NGOs for 'financial support' to rebels
This photo from state-run Philippine News Agency shows an anti-communist rally at the EDSA Shrine on December 26, 2019. December 26 marks the anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Facebook / Philippine News Agency

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — Government is snooping on congressmen, governors, vice-governors and even former senators whom it says are allegedly giving financial support to communist guerrillas.

Government agencies are also looking into businesses and international non-government organizations alleged to also have given money to the  rebels.

Alex Paul Monteagudo, director general of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, said this week that government is "now looking into individuals who provided support to the [Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army], including politicians."

Saying he could not give names while investigations are ongoing, Monteagudo claimed that the politicians either gave arms like M16 rifles or rice to NPA rebels, especially during election periods.

NICA claims that the communist rebels "have collected a whopping P5.8 billion from 2016 to 2018 alone to finance their terroristic activities in the country and to support the lavish lifestyles of their leaders."

He said government is also looking into how 87 firms also allegedly gave rebels money as a tax.

"We will be running after them. We will hold them liable," the NICA chief said, referring to the Anti-Terrorism Act and the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act.

CPP: Government trying to intimidate businesses, politicians

But the CPP criticized the NTF-ELCAC for "setting the stage for its drive to extort and intimidate business firms and politicians", saying the government's supposed list is similar to the "narco-lists" used by the authorities.

"The NTF-ELCAC is making fools of the Filipino people by citing supposed reports of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency as basis for their plans. The NICA's so-called 'intelligence reports' are typically half-witted concocted stories produced by the wild imagination of its head, Alex Paul Monteagudo. He is the same officer behind the recent unsubstantiated red-tagging against a government employees union in the Senate," Marco Valbuena, spokesman of the CPP Central Committee, said in a statement. 

"Since assuming power, Duterte has been using every possible tactic to extort money from big businessmen by threatening or actually hitting at their operations with charges of tax fraud and other methods," he said. 

Valbuena said that the by claiming that the CPP-NPA has collected billions, "[Monteagudo] is inadvertently saying is that the CPP/NPA remains strong and able to exercise its authority to levy taxes, contrary to the persistent claims of the NTF-ELCAC of diminishing support and strength of the revolutionary forces."

NGOs under probe

The government said it is also investigating 18 international Non-Goverment Organizations that allegedly gave the CPP-NPA money through "project proposals bearing false advocacies with their allied organizations and the party-list groups." 

Lawyer Emmet Manantan, deputy director and head of the Financial Crime Investigation Group of the Anti-Money Laundering Council, claimed that donations varied from millions of euros to thousands of dollars.

Manantan said the council was able to trace the transactions when the amount of donations reached the AMLC threshold. He said government was able to identify the countries the money came from, the banks that the donations were coursed and the people who withdrew the money.

He claimed that people identified to have withdrawn the money have since become AMLC witnesses.

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