Skip to comments.Communist Extortion in the Philippines
Posted on 12/07/2003 8:21:31 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
WHO ARE the extortionists? It's the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA), said Carapali Lualhati, national commander of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army and its armed wing, Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB).
Lualhati, also known as Stephen Paduano, said the people of Negros are not "illiterate" to know who really are the extortionists.
He said the underground movement wherein he was a member some 10 years past, is responsible for extorting revolutionary taxes in the uplands especially from politicians come election time.
The NPAs are also responsible for the burning of Ceres buses for the owner's failure or refusal to submit to their demands, added Lualhati.
The RPA-ABB national commander also belied the accusations of priest-turned-rebel Frank Fernandez, NPA island commander, that the RPAs are using the CPP-NPA official logo in extortion letters to discredit their (NPA) organization.
"It only shows that Ka Frank admits that they extort money to generate funds through extortion letters targeting some businessmen, politicians and even small businessmen," Lualhati countered.
Tagging Fernandez's statements as "recycled and distorted issues," Lualhati added that the NPAs are at present mounting psychological preparations or psywar for the forthcoming 2004 presidential elections.
It is during the height of the campaign period that the NPAs extort money from politicians who would frequent the province's hinterlands, some of which are the NPA's stronghold areas.
Lualhati disclosed that their group as early as now, already received a number of complaints from municipal mayors and councilors in some areas in the province claiming that the NPAs ask for so-called "access fees" amounting from P100,000 to P500,000 for them to campaign in their (NPA) areas of jurisdiction.
Lualhati further revealed that the communist insurgents have extorted some P3 million from a bus company in the province this year although he did not elaborate.
If the bus owner refuses to pay revolutionary taxes to them, he added, the company's buses are torched.
"I am calling on all businessmen, capitalist, politicians not to pay and not to be intimidated by these bandits, the CPP-NPA in particular under the command of Jose Maria Sison and Ka Frank Fernandez," Lualhati said.
He also clarified that the RPA-ABB is a non-partisan and revolutionary organization, which will not endorse or campaign for any candidate in next year's polls.
"To all politicians, you are free to campaign in areas where RPAs (are existing). We do not have any controlled areas but we have several influence areas. All candidates are free to campaign," he said.
He added that their organization would actively participate in the election by educating the people to vote for candidates who are capable to run for government office.
Lualhati urged politicians to report any extortion and threats they receive for the RPA to take action in coordination with the PNP and the Philippine Army.
Military: NPA recruiting women for extortion - November 26, 2003 2:21 AM
ZAMBOANGA CITY - The communist New Peoples Army (NPA) has begun recruiting female members to help extort money for its 36th anniversary celebration next month, the military has claimed.
Intelligence reports said the recruitment is being done in remote areas of the Zamboanga Peninsula, formerly known as the Western Mindanao region.
The Zamboanga Peninsula covers the provinces of Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte and the cities of Zamboanga, Pagadian, Dipolog, Dapitan and Isabela.
According to the 4th Civil Relations Group chief, Lt. Col. Fredesvindo Covarrubias, the targets of recruitment were young women .
In exchange, they were promised a decent and good life, Covarrubias told reporters. Those involved in the recruitment were hard-core members of the NPA, he added.
He said the military is monitoring the movement of the NPA guerrillas to avert any planned atrocities.
The United States government has included the NPA on its list of foreign terrorist organizations.
Covarrubias appealed to the parents of teenagers to closely monitor the activities of their children who might be recruited by the NPA.
Meanwhile, NPA spokesman Gregorio Rosal, alias Ka Roger, laughed off reports that he is ill and needs medication. Speaking over the radio, Rosal accused the military in Southern Luzon of spreading the news about his alleged failing health.
He also laughed off the reported offer by the military to bring him to the hospital for medication.
NPA taxing teachers in Negros, military says - GILBERT BAYORAN - November 29, 2003 12:30 AM
BACOLOD CITY - Not even the low-paid teachers in the hinterland areas of central Negros were spared by the extortion activities of the New Peoples Army (NPA), the military claimed Friday.
1Lt. Clarence Garrido, 11th Infantry Battalion Civil Military Operation officer, said the rebels impose quarterly, or even monthly monetary and logistic obligations on teachers.
Garrido said the teachers have not made any attempt to report the extortion for fear of being harmed or killed by the rebel group.
In Isabela, Negros Occidental, he also noted a series of robberies reportedly perpetrated by the communist-led NPA, whose victims are businessmen who refused to pay revolutionary taxes.
In northern Negros, the rebels torched two tractors of the Montinola family for failure to comply with their demands, police records showed.
It clearly shows that they [NPA rebels] are already suffering from financial constraints, and they want to make it appear that some lawless elements did it [tractor burning] to exonerate their group, Garrido said.
On the other hand, the National Democratic Front-Negros has condemned what it calls the dirty psywar tactics of the military and the Revolutionary Proletarian Army (RPA), in accusing the communist rebel movement in engaging in extortion.
Priest-turned-rebel Frank Fernandez, in a statement, charged the military of using the NDF logo and masthead in its extortion activities.
Fernandez claimed that in the alleged extortion activities of the military and RPA, the victims were ordered to contact a certain Ka Rommel through a cell-phone number, and threatened to punish the victims if they fail to comply with the extortionists demands.
The rebel priest called for vigilance from the masses, sugar planters and businessmen to what he claimed to be the extortion activities of the military.
Fernandez, however, admitted that businessmen who operate within the guerrilla fronts have the obligation to pay taxes to the communist movement.
Ka Roger justifies tax collection - IRE JO V.C. LAURENTE - December 5, 2003 1:51 AM
CALAPAN CITY, Oriental Mindoro - The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) lambasted on Thursday a bill proposed by a party-list representative wanting to declare the tax-collection activities of the communists illegal.
In an e-mailed statement, CPP spokesman Gregorio Ka Roger Rosal also criticized Akbayan Party-list Reps. Etta Rosales and Mario Aguja in filing House Bill 6581, which seeks to criminalize New Peoples Army (NPA) tax collection activities during elections.
Rosal said the party-list lawmakers need a reality check, being out-and-out opportunists and now baring their reactionary skeletons.
It smacks of opportunism and reaction, as well as self-illusion and lack of common sense Rosal said.
The communist leader said that Rosales and her group pretend not to realize that the CPP-NPA-NDF [National Democratic Front] and their revolutionary mass base have their own revolutionary government, and that the NPA collects revolutionary taxes in accordance to revolutionary governmental policies and laws on taxation.
Rosales and company cannot just legalize this fact out of existence. Most politicos, including traditional politicos, have enough common sense to recognize and comply with this, he said.
He also added that the government and closet reactionaries like Rosales have all the freedom within the confines of their own reactionary state to declare revolutionary-tax collection as illegal anytime they want to, but when they want to enter the territory of the CPP-NPA-NDF and its revolutionary government, they are obliged to follow revolutionary laws, including the payment of the necessary fees and taxes.
He, however, said that the revolutionary movement does not give entry permits to die-hard reactionaries, who are rabidly antagonistic and have incurred blood debts to the revolutionary movement and the people.
He warned that the policy of the CPP-NPA-NDF is to apply sanctions and punishments on them, instead of collecting taxes from them.
The proceeds from the collection of revolutionary fees and taxes are used to fund socioeconomic, health, educational and cultural projects and activities of the people in the revolutionary mass bases, as well as to finance the operations of the revolutionary movement, Rosal added.
The military had earlier warned politicians who would be paying communist guerrillas for their permit to campaign. The military said that this is tantamount to treason, and anybody who is proven to have given money to the rebels would be charged.
Election related extortion now a crime - December 8, 2003 12:08 PM
The chairman of the House Committee on Civil, Political and Human Rights moved on Tuesday to criminalize election-related extortions acts, especially those being carried out by armed groups, including the communist New Peoples Army (NPA).
Party-list Rep. Loretta Ann Rosales of Akbayan filed House Bill 658 seeking to amend the Omnibus Election Code to stop armed groups from extorting huge sums from politicians during election campaigns.
This undemocratic and reprehensible practice completely goes against the principle and concept off free elections that underline our democratic system of government, as well as that of all other countries that profess to be democratic, Rosales said.
She said armed groups that include the NPA, extort money or other valuables from candidates for public office and from political parties in exchange for so-called permits to campaign in their territories.
Rosales said this violates the provisions of our Constitution on political freedom and of electoral reforms that the National Democratic Front, the Communist Party of the Philippines and NPA profess to adhere to among others in their peace negotiations with the government.
She said acts of extortion by armed groups curtail the freedom of citizens and their political parties and organizations to campaign anywhere in the country for their candidates and their political and electoral platforms, as well as the right of voters to be freely informed about candidates and political parties contending for public office.
She said her proposal was filed after several party-list organizations complained about harassment and extortion attempts from the NPA.
In the proposal Rosales said that while there are mechanisms in place to ensure that the police and military are accountable for cases of harassment, the same cannot be said of rebel groups, who operate outside the rule of law.
BAGUIO --- Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) spokesman Gregorio "Ka Roger" Rosal belittled Wednesday the order of President Arroyo for military and police to stop rebels from imposing permit-to-campaign (PTC) fees from politicians.
"In reality, Arroyo and her military and police have no effective way of halting the collection of election campaign fees in widespread areas effectively controlled by the NPA (New People's Army)," said Rosal.
For decades now, the CPP, through its armed-wing NPA, has been collecting money from politicians who wish to conduct campaign sorties in NPA-identified territories.
Many politicians, including President Arroyo's allies, are paying for safe conduct passes to campaign in certain areas of the country ahead of elections in May, Rosal claimed.
The military this week said the CPP-NPA is expected to amass more than P2-billion from PTC fees collection.
Rosal added that candidates pay campaign fees as "a sign of recognition of the political authority of the people's democratic government in revolutionary areas."
He also revealed that most of Arroyo's partymates and political allies, who are running for local and national positions, have already submitted applications for PTCs.
Candidates are allowed to enter and campaign in NPA-identified stronghold areas only if they are able to present PTCs issued by revolutionary authorities.
"Arroyo cannot deny by decree the existence of the political authority of the people's revolutionary forces," Rosal said. "It exists by virtue of the people's organized revolutionary armed strength and mass movement."
Rosal claimed PTCs are required to ensure the security of revolutionary areas and the orderly conduct of political campaigns in those areas.
He also said politicians entering and campaigning in revolutionary areas are prohibited from bringing weapons and armed groups.
Rosal also said collections from PTC fees are used to fund the operations of the people's democratic government as well as important socio-economic activities of the masses under the jurisdiction of the revolutionary government, including cooperatives and projects to enhance agricultural production, as well as medical, education and literacy campaigns.
The government says the "permit to campaign" fees charged NPA guerrillas are simply extortion. It has vowed to crack down on the practice.
Defense Secretary Eduardo Ermita said last week the NPA was stepping up its extortion "to make up for lost contributions coming from abroad" after the United States declared the group a "foreign terrorist organization."
The US, European Union, Australia and Canada have also pledged to freeze the NPA's assets, he said.
Ermita said the NPA had ordered candidates contesting for seats in Congress to pay them half a million pesos if they campaigned in their areas of influence. Gubernatorial bets have been asked to pay 300,000 pesos and mayoral candidates 50,000 pesos.
In the past, candidates without rebel passes have been ambushed.
CAMP AQUINO, Tarlac - A ranking military official here virtually admitted that authorities are practically incapable to stop the communist New Peoples Army (NPA)s collection of revolutionary taxes from businessmen, and the imposition of permit-to-campaign fees on candidates.
This is a sophisticated process, said Lt. Gen. Romeo Dominguez, commanding officer of the Armed Forces Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom), when asked by reporters here how he plans to implement in Central and Northern Luzon President Arroyos order for soldiers to end the taxation and other forms of extortion by the NPA.
He said that as it takes two to tango, the only way to apprehend rebels involved in the implementation of the revolutionary taxation by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its political wing, the National Democratic Front (NDF), is for the candidates in the 2004 elections and businessmen to cooperate with the police and military authorities.
Earlier reports have it that the communist movement is expected to raise more than a billion pesos out of money extorted from candidates who would secure permits to campaign in rebel strongholds.
On December 4 CPP spokesman Gregorio Ka Roger Rosal said that reactionary politicos and political parties, including their party-list allies, who desire to enter and campaign in CPP-NPA-NDF-governed areas, have to secure official permits and pay the necessary fees to do so.
The rebel spokesman insisted that anybody who wants to enter the territories of the CPP-NPA-NDF and its revolutionary government are obliged to follow revolutionary laws, including the payment of the necessary fees and taxes.
Dominguez, however, described such policy of the rebels as a manifestation of terrorism, although he said that the imposition of taxes and campaign fees on candidates, were nothing new, nothing special, but plain extortion.
He said that the only way to prevent the guerrillas from imposing fees on candidates is for politicians to have it reported to authorities because extortion is a criminal offense.
For arrests to be made, the rebels should be caught red-handed.
But Dominguez lamented that the advent of technology has put the police and military in a disadvantageous position in fighting the rebels fundraising activities.
He said the intelligence community has discovered that most payments for revolutionary taxes and permit-to-campaign fees are now being made through automated teller machines.
He added that the communists are not only using the Internet to further their propaganda activities, as the CPP-NPA-NDF now also undertakes financial transaction over cyberspace in credit- card payments and bank-to-bank money transfers.
He stressed that the military and the police can guarantee the safety of candidates who would report such rebel activities to authorities.
TIS the season to be jolly, but for the communist rebels it is not necessarily because of Christmas. It's more because the election season is near at hand, which is the season that usually brings a financial windfall to the New People's Army, courtesy of the candidates. In next year's national elections, the NPA could collect as much as 2.25 billion pesos from the issuance of "permits to campaign" in rebel-controlled areas to candidates for various positions.
That figure is not a rebel boast, but an estimate made by the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Colonel Eduardo del Rosario, chief of the Philippine Army's Civil Affairs Group, said the going rate for gubernatorial candidates is 500,000 pesos; for congressional candidates, 300,000 pesos to 500,000 pesos; and for mayoral candidates, 50,000 pesos to 300,000 pesos. Based on the military's "honest estimate" that 10 percent of some 450,000 candidates contesting various positions would come across with 50,000 pesos on the average, Del Rosario said, the NPA could generate a total of 2.25 billion pesos during the campaign period.
It's quite interesting that the AFP puts at 10 percent the number of candidates who would be willing to pay the campaign fees demanded by the NPA. Is it now admitting that the guerrillas control at least 10 percent of the national territory? Or is it exaggerating the threat to get a higher budget?
Apparently the rebels are not about to dispute what to them are very encouraging statistics. In fact, NPA spokesman Gregorio Rosal has seized the AFP announcement as an opportunity to advertise the movement and the services it has to offer. Rosal said the payment of such fees has long been "an election fact of life." "It's the candidate's way of acknowledging the political authority of the revolutionary forces in Red-contolled areas," he explained.
Negotiations between the rebels and some candidates have been going on for months now, Rosal also revealed. And with the 15-day Christmas truce in place, more candidates are expected to inquire about how to secure a permit to campaign. "They will take advantage of the lull in fighting to freely transact business with us," he predicted.
Rosal also said the fees the rebels charge are "open to negotiation." They accept payment in cash or kind, such as communication equipment-a fact that has been confirmed by the Army spokesman. Del Rosario said the guerrillas are willing to accept eight M-16 rifles if a candidate cannot afford to pay 500,000 pesos in cash or four such rifles instead of 300,000 pesos.
Apparently such deals have been going on for a long time, as Rosal has said. But what has the government done to stop them? No candidate, winning or losing, has ever been arrested and charged for helping finance the insurgency, which is what paying the fees or giving arms to the rebels amounts to.
Also 2 billion pesos can go a long way in funding the operations of about 10,000 guerrillas. So what is the government doing to check the flow of such a huge sum to the NPA?
President Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered the AFP and the PNP to put together an operational plan to stop the collection of such fees. And she has asked them to work closely with the candidates. In Congress, a bill authored principally by Akbayan Reps. Loretta Ann Rosales and Mario Aguja seeks to criminalize the collection of such campaign fees as well as so-called "revolutionary taxes."
But again the question is: How does one implement the plan or enforce the law? If the government can actually serve warrants of arrest, the rebellion would have been crushed a long time ago.
Rosal has mockingly suggested that the government try to stop "the long line of candidates" who are willing to pay for the privilege of campaigning in the areas controlled by rebels. He did not mean to, of course, but he actually pointed to a more practical way of stopping the rebel exaction. And that is by cracking down hard on candidates who agree to pay or deliver the arms or logistics demanded by the guerrillas.
The candidates are not hostages. They are a party to an illegal transaction. They provide material aid to enemies of the state and abet the rebellion. They should not be treated with sympathy and understanding like victims.
Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this list.
I don't get offended if you want to be removed.
MANILA -- The military will use text messaging to help curb extortion by communist insurgents of candidates in the May national elections, a spokesman said Monday.
Military spokesman Lt. Colonel Daniel Lucero said the campaign would be similar to one used against the Abu Sayyaf, which was active in the southern Philippines but has since been weakened by the capture of key leaders.
With the help of text messaging or SMS, candidates and the public at large will be able to report cases of extortion by the New People's Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), Lucero said.
"We've done this before particularly in Abu Sayyaf areas. We've established hotlines where people can text," said Lucero in an interview with ABS-CBN television.
Text messages would allow callers to keep their identity secret while reporting extortion attempts, he said.
Texting is hugely popular in the country. News, gossip, jokes and greetings are exchanged among more than 18 million mobile phone owners.
NPA leaders have said they were collecting huge sums of money from candidates in the May national elections in exchange for "permits to campaign" in guerrilla-influenced areas.
Lucero said that in the last elections in 2001, the communists charged about a a million pesos for each senatorial candidate with smaller sums for gubernatorial and mayoral candidates. AFP
KORONADAL CITY -- Communist guerillas are asking from P50,000 to P500,000 from politicians as permit to campaign fees, a practice described by President Arroyo as "extortion" and which she vowed to stop this election period.
National Democratic Front (NDF) spokesman Jorge Madlos, alias Ka Oris, said no candidate wanting to campaign in strongholds of communist guerillas would be spared from paying campaign fees. The NDF is the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Madlos said the rate of campaign fees is P500,000 for governor; between P300,000 to P500,000 for those seeking congressional posts, and between P50,000 to P500,000 for those running for mayor.
For a whole party slate, the campaign fee rate is P1.5 million or above, he added.
"Extortion yun eh. Kontra sa batas yun eh. So kailangan, ipairal ang batas (That's extortion. That's illegal. So, we need to impose the law)," Arroyo said, in reaction to the statement of the communist group that all candidates for public office in the 2004 elections must pay the campaign fee.
She said her government would stop this practice of the New People's Army (NPA), the armed wing of the CPP.
Madlos said they earned P40 million from campaign fees in the 2001 elections and added he would welcome a "media-led audit team" to check on how the money was used.
Arroyo, asked on how she intended to go about preventing the NPA from harassing candidates, especially those running for local posts, replied, "law enforcement."
But she said government would pursue peace talks with the communist group. She also said Norway is helping in the exploratory talks, not only by hosting the venue, but also by helping mediate the negotiations.
Defense Secretary Eduardo Ermita said military and police are focused on stopping the NPA's reported extort activities in the Southern Tagalog region, Eastern Samar province and in Mindanao.
South Cotabato Police Director Senior Supt. Romeo Rufino urged candidates not to pay any campaign fee.
In Eastern Samar, said Ermita, a candidate for provincial governor, a former congressman, is complaining against the campaign fee. He declined to name the candidate.
He said the NPA's tax collection activities heightened after the US and the European Union (EU) branded the communist group a terrorist organization and ordered its assets frozen.
Police agreed that the campaign fee is plain extortion.
The communist group is not supporting any candidate vying for a national post but would back "progressive candidates" running for provincial, city or municipal posts, said NDF Peace Panel Chairman Luis Jalandoni.
"In the national level, we see that this elections would not anymore give solutions to the fundamental problems of the people," Jalandoni said in a local radio interview.
Jalandoni said the NDF considers the political workout in the national level as "an exercise in futility," which also does not offer a solution to pressing problems of the country.
But in the local level, he added, candidates with "progressive platforms" would earn "limited gains from the NDF-CPP-NPA and the areas it influenced."
Jalandoni claimed that communist forces are growing stronger, "mustering support in more than 8,000 villages or maintaining influences in about 800 municipalities and 90 percent of the provinces in the country." (Sun.Star General Santos/With SCT)
THE Task Force Davao (TFD) yesterday said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will do everything to stop the New Peoples Army (NPA) from collecting permit to campaign (PTC) fees among candidates in the incoming 2004. Col. Gaudencio Pangilinan, TFD commander, said they will increase their presence and mobility in the citys hinterlands to prevent the NPA from harassing and soliciting money from the politicians.
The TFD will make its presence felt in the rural areas to prevent these extortion activities of the rebels, Pangilinan said.
In the weekly forum of Ato ni Bay of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte at After-Dark Resto-bar, Pangilinan said candidates should coordinate with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) so that the TFD can provide them with security escorts during their campaign rounds.
We are now starting to coordinate with the staffmembers of the candidates so that we can given them covert security escorts, Pangilinan said.
Senior Supt. Conrado Laza, Davao City Police Office (DCPO) director, said the DCPO will also do its share in preventing the rebels from collecting money from the candidates.
The police will also do their share to prevent these extortion being done by the rebels, Laza said.
NPA rebels in Mindanao back Poe, insist on campaign fees - By Lizanilla Amarga - December 30, 2003
LIANGA, Surigao del Sur--Communists and their supporters in Mindanao said they are inclined to support action star Fernando Poe Jr. for president in next year's elections.
This came about as they debunked reports they have required Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to pay P300,000 for his permit to campaign (PTC), saying the amount is too small for the mayor.
In a press conference held here amid the 35th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP, National Democratic Front (NDF) Mindanao spokesman Jorge "Ka Oris" Madlos told media practitioners they prefer Poe than President Arroyo and other presidentiables.
"Kung karon ang election ang arang-arang si FPJ kaysa ni Gloria (if the elections are to be held today it is better to vote for Poe than Arroyo)," he said.
Madlos said FPJ hasn't committed a crime to the masses yet or to the movement unlike the President whom he said should have been "kicked out".
Nevertheless, Madlos said Poe, who is commonly called as "FPJ", and all presidential candidates and politicians will have to pay the required campaign fee should they want to campaign in their areas.
He said the campaign fee is an "expression of the governmental function of the revolutionary government" and is considered as another form of revolutionary tax.
"No one is exempted from paying the PTC even if they are against or in support of our revolutionary movement...they can pay in the form of firearms or in cash," he said.
He added that politicians not paying the required PTC would be barred from campaigning in their areas.
Madlos also denied requiring Duterte to pay the amount of P300,000 for his PTC. The amount "is too small for Duterte," he said in Visayan.
Madlos said should Duterte insist on not paying the PTC, it would be up to their group in Southern Mindanao to deal with the mayor.
"Ipatuman strictly ang PTC sa tibook Mindanao (The PTC will be strictly implemented in Mindanao)," he said.
When asked on how much was really asked from the Davao mayor, Madlos replied that he cannot as yet ascertain the exact amount.
He however, disclosed there is a "general ceiling" for PTCs that provides the amount required as payment for mayors who want to campaign in their areas.
Madlos said the PTC for a mayor ranges from P50,000 to P500,000 while for party slates, such as governors and their Provincial Board members, the fee ranges from P1.5 million up.
"Pero usahay maubos kung maghinangyoay depende sa negotiation ug capacity sa individual candidate," he said. (But this can still go down depending on the negotiation and the capacity of the individual candidate to pay.)
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY -- The front pages last Christmas featured unseemly photos of politicians hobnobbing with some of the worlds last remaining communists as they celebrated the 35th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in the town of Liangga, Surigao del Sur.
Eraps former environment and natural resources secretary was there. The others consisted of the provinces vice governor, who was quoted as representing his governor and his congressman, Lianggas vice mayor, and lesser politicians.
The hosts in that event are the same people who require what they call a permit-to-campaign (PTC) before any candidate can enter areas they claim to control. The PTC is granted upon payment of an amount specified by or negotiated with area commanders. Those who pay receive a guarantee of safety.
This practice is being reported as standard fare in those areas. If so, it poses disturbing questions about the integrity of the republic and of our electoral system.
First, it means that the government has no control over certain parts of the country, ceding them to lawless elements and compromising the sovereignty of the Republic.
Second, the legitimacy of certain officials is questionable. Their election to office may have been due to the illegal support of these armed groups in exchange for which they may be abetting their nefarious activities, thereby imperiling instead of securing their jurisdiction. It violates their oath of office.
And third, it suggests that some candidates approve of extortion and gunpoint persuasion in electoral contests. Anyone who plays along with extortion, or who concedes to threats, has no place in government. No one should benefit from an advantage conferred by lawlessness.
This practice is plain and simple extortion a protection racket. It corrupts and distorts elections. It favors certain candidates even as it prevents others to campaign.
To pay for a PTC is collusion or bribery. To impose it is extortion. Those who refuse to pay risk danger to their person. They cannot campaign freely, or at all. So it makes a mockery of our election laws and spits in the face of the right to vie for public office.
LIANGA, Surigao del Sur -- For fees ranging from P50,000 to P1.5 million, the New Peoples Army will guarantee the safety of politicians campaigning in the rebel groups controlled territories.
George Madlos aka Ka Oris, National Democratic Front Mindanao spokesperson, said no political candidates would be exempted from paying the fees.
There are no poor candidates in this election. If you run (for an elective position), you are not poor, Madlos said.
He said candidates for governor in the provinces would have to fork out P1.5 million so they can campaign freely in NPA controlled territories without fear from harassment.
For those running for Congress, Madlos said candidates will have to pay P300,000. Those running for town mayors will pay P50,000, depending on the income of the municipality, he said.
Madlos said mayoralty candidates for Mindanaos 27 cities will have to pay the fees, too, and secure permit to campaign (PTC) coupons.
The NPA, which is engaged in Asias longest insurgency, has 35 guerilla fronts operating in 20 provinces and 27 cities in Mindanao.
There is no denying that we exist in the mountains. Local candidates are familiar with the revolutionary dynamics in their localities, Madlos said.
He said voters in NPA-controlled territories comprise 20 percent of Mindanaos 18.1 million inhabitants.
It is enough to swing the victory of politicians, Madlos said.
Candidates for national elective positions are advised to negotiate directly with the NDF or NPA central committees, Madlos said.
He said candidates who will refuse to pay up will not be allowed to campaign in NPA sanctuaries.
Candidates must be ready to present their PTC cards or certificate upon entering revolutionary territories to campaign, Madlos said.
He said candidates who refuse to comply and still enter their territories will be considered as engaging in provocative acts. Security escorts of these candidates, Madlos said, will be subjected to NPA military action.
Journalists and a group of government officials were given a glimpse of the NPAs influence in the hinterlands when they went to a hinterland village, 15 kilometers north of Lianga town last Tuesday.
There, amid a backdrop of nipa huts and smiling faces of villagers, the journalists and government officials were treated to a display of NPA firepower.
Some 60 NPA guerilla fighters armed with M16 and M14 rifles drilled in front of the visitors. The rebels, some of them women, also performed songs and dances.
One of the visiting government officials, Rep. Prospero Pichay, chair of the Congress national defense committee, asked Madlos of the possibility of lowering the fees.
Pichay said the fees are exorbitant for candidates who do not have enough financial resources.
Another government official who was in the meeting, Rep. Oscar Moreno of Misamis Oriental, said he will not pay the NPA. Moreno is running for governor in Misamis Oriental where several towns are influenced by the NPA.
I do not recognize the NPA, Moreno said.
Col. Daniel Lucero, Armed Forces spokesperson, said the military has set up telephone hotlines where candidates can call or send text messages to report any NPA extortion.
Lucero said criminal cases will be filed against politicians who will pay the communist rebels. He did not specify what criminal cases would be filed.
We have many deep penetration agents in the NPA ranks. We will know who will be paying, Lucero told MindaNews by phone.
The NPA has set up an elaborate system of payment scheme to prevent unscrupulous persons and military agents from swindling the candidates.
Madlos advised candidates who want to comply to look for reliable friends who have direct contacts with the NDF or NPA.
He said candidates can also give firearms and ammunition in lieu of cash.
We consider the fees as taxes. Like any government, those who transact business in our territories must pay the taxes, Madlos said.
Pay NPAs PTC and face consequences, PNP warns Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews / 8 January 2004
DAVAO CITY -- Authorities issued frantic warnings this afternoon against any political candidates who intends to pay the New Peoples Army in exchange for free access in rebel controlled territories.
You can be charged for aiding the rebels, warned Chief Supt. Isidro Lapeña, city police director.
But this dire warning can just be a balloon of hot air.
Director Lerio Joqueño of the Commission on Elections said no politicians were ever convicted for giving money to the rebels.
Joqueño cited the lack of witnesses as one of the reasons why there are no convictions.
In other instances, witnesses lose interest. This is the biggest drawback. We can not just get any conviction, she said.
The Revised Penal Code of the Philippines penalized persons who gives aid or comfort to the enemies of the state with imprisonment up to 17 years and a fine of P20,000.
The communist New Peoples Army has come out with payment rates for politicians who wish to campaign in their territories.
All candidates must pay permit to campaign (PTC) fees ranging from P1.5 million to P50,000.
George Madlos, National Democratic Front Mindanao spokesperson, urged candidates to secure their permits otherwise they could be subjected to harassment by the communist rebels.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines has set up communication centers nationwide where candidates can report any extortion threat by the rebels.
Col. Rodolfo Obaniano, chief of the Army 701st Brigade, said they can provide candidates with military escorts if they wish to enter rebel controlled areas.
This would have to be approved by the Comelec of course. But we assure that everyone can avail of the Army escorts, Obaniano told reporters.
Lapena said the PNP and Army will set up election communication centers to monitor the incoming May elections.
A congressman was held up and two of his aides wounded by suspected communist guerrillas demanding he pay to campaign in rebel-claimed territories, officials said Saturday.
Congressman Jose Solis said in a radio interview, that he, a driver and a bodyguard were heading to a civic function in Gubat town, Sorsogon province, Friday when their vehicle was stopped by seven armed men.
Solis said that he identified himself as a congressman whereupon one of the men told him "you are not observing the laws of the revolutionaries. You have no permit to campaign."
Communist insurgents have demanded that candidates in the May 10 national elections pay them to get a "permit to campaign" in areas where the guerrillas are active.
Solis said he tried to reason with the armed men but when they noticed that his driver had a gun hidden in his vest, they shot the driver in the wrist and the bodyguard in the thigh.
The armed men then took the three firearms and two cellular phones of Solis's group and left. The congressman was not harmed.
Solis, who is running for re-election in May, said he suspects political rivals were behind the shooting.
Minutes after it happened, cellular phone text messages began circulating that the whole thing was a hoax intended to win public sympathy for the congressman.
"Was it a drama to shoot... my bodyguard and driver just to get the voters' sympathy?" he asked.
Regional police head, Chief Superintendent Jaime Lacsi Lasar said that the incident could have been communist extortion but were still investigating.
Aspirants warned: Pay PTC fees, or else... - By Anthony S. Allada, Staff Writer
THE New Peoples Army has warned politicians who will not pay the permit-to-campaign (PTC) fees that they will be vulnerable to attacks. In a statement, Rigoberto Sanchez, spokesperson of the NPAs Merardo Arce Command, also said: Non-complying candidates cannot enter and campaign in areas of operation of the NPA.
But Sanchez said the rebels do not have a fast rule on PTC because candidate can bargain for the reduction of the fees.
Sanchez statement came after members of the NPA reportedly attacked a mayor in Davao del Sur Friday.
Initial reports from the military said that a team of rebels was responsible for the attack on Magsaysay Mayor Arthur Davin. The reports added that Davin, who survived the attack, earned the ire of the rebels after he failed to pay the PTC fees.
Davin was riding a white Tamaraw FX after attending a fiesta celebration when the vehicle stepped into a landmine that exploded, hitting the vehicles rear portion.
His policeman-bodyguard, SPO2 Eduardo Adlawan was, slightly injured.
Police identified two rebels, Maximo Sambong Jr. and a certain Junjun, as the ones who planted the bomb.
Sanchez said candidates should understand that without the NPA sanction, they will reportedly face difficulties in their campaign.
But Sanchez said that even with the PTC being a matter of revolutionary policy, electoral parties and candidates can also enter into negotiations with the rebels.
All considerations shall be discussed and dealt with on a case-to-case basis during these negotiations, he said.
This is in relation with those politicians who are negotiating for the lowering of PTC rates.
Posted: 11:51 PM (Manila Time) | Jan. 17, 2004
By Delfin Mallari Jr.
Inquirer News Service
LUCENA CITY, Quezon -- Communist Party of the Philippines spokesman Gregorio "Ka Roger" Rosal Saturday said the payment of the permit-to-campaign fees by candidates who wanted to campaign in so-called communist-controlled areas is now in full swing nationwide.
Rosal said most candidates "who know the business of real politics voluntarily and intently seek lines of communication with the CPP-NPA [New People's Army] leadership or their representatives."
"Even if we don't tell them, politicians who know look for us and approach us because they fully know the rule and who decides in the guerrilla zones," Rosal said in a statement released by the Party Information Bureau.
The government has declared that the police and the military will continue to thwart the imposition of the PTC, which it said is a clear form of extortion.
Rosal claimed that candidates and political parties from the national to the local levels have been holding meetings with rebel leaders to explain how their respective programs of government are supposed to be pro-people and how they can help in the CPP-NPA's socio-economic welfare programs for the people.
The candidates, he said, also coordinate with the NPA for their security requirements.
"This speaks of the wide sway and recognition of the political authority of the people's democratic government," Rosal said.
He said territories under the strong influence of the revolutionary movement currently cover at least 10 million people.
Rosal said that in consolidated revolutionary areas, the revolutionary movement "wields greater actual authority" than the government while both operate side-by-side in expansion areas.
He also rebuked government peace negotiators for stating that the PTC is not helping the peace talks.
"We should get over the socio-economic and political and electoral reforms agenda of the peace talks and look at the resultant changes in favor of the people's welfare and meaningful political resolutions first before talking about the PTC," said Rosal.
"Now that formal peace negotiations are to be resumed shortly, the government panel should refrain from issuing such prejudicial statements that do not help at all create a favorable atmosphere for the talks," Rosal added.
The government peace panel said the issue of PTC collection being imposed by the NPA would be brought to the negotiating table since the government has declared that the practice is unacceptable.
Major Jose Broso, spokesman of the military's Southern Luzon Unified Command based here in Camp Nakar, scoffed at the NPA claim that no politician running for office would be "exempt" from the payment of the permit-to-campaign fee.
"It's pure extortion by a worldwide known terrorist group," he said.
BAGUIO -- Aspirants for elective posts in the May elections were warned Sunday not to bring with them guns and armed goons when they conduct campaign sorties inside zones controlled by New People's Army (NPA) guerillas.
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) spokesman Gregorio "Ka Roger" Rosal said all election candidates campaigning in guerrilla zones would be asked to comply with the rules and regulations of the underground movement. This is to ensure they would not create trouble inside NPA turfs. The NPA is the armed wing of the CPP.
Rosal, on the other hand, explained the permit-to-campaign (PTC) fee was being imposed nationwide and on all politicians, and even President Arroyo is mandated to pay the toll.
Just like in previous elections, politicians would be left with no option but to pay campaign fees, Rosal claimed, adding at least 10 million voters are located in guerilla zones.
Rosal brushed aside government's statement that the campaign fees are against the law and that candidates should ignore the rebels' demand.
He also belittled the threat by the military and police that they will use force to prevent the CPP-NPA from implementing the permit to campaign policy.
Rosal said candidates and political parties from the national to the local levels have been holding meetings with revolutionary authorities to explain how their respective programs of government are supposed to be pro-people. They are also claiming they can help in the CPP-NPA and revolutionary mass organization's own socio-economic welfare programs for the people as well as coordinate their campaign activities and meet security requirements.
He added that politicians are specifically asked to support revolutionary programs for the benefit of the people, including various economic, medical, educational, literacy and cultural programs.
Rosal explained a significant part of proceeds from campaign fees are used to fund such programs.
"These revolutionary socio-economic programs actually make up for the historical neglect by the government and provide immediate relief to the deprived, impoverished and long-suffering people, especially in the countryside."
By GILBERT BAYORAN
BACOLOD CITY - The National Police in Region 6 Saturday warned candidates in the May 10 elections against paying permit to campaign fees to the New Peoples Army, saying doing so is tantamount to treason.
Regional police director George Aliño said they are now monitoring candidates who pay campaign fees to the NPA.
Paying campaign fees to the NPA is like treason because you are providing aid and comfort to the enemy [of the state], Aliño stressed. On the part of the NPA, this is definitely extortion.
Aliño said the police would file the appropriate charges against the paying candidates and the rebels who are apprehended.
The military has already monitored reports that the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA has started to negotiate with some candidates in central Negros.
CPP spokesman Gregorio Rosal has issued a stern warning against candidates who may campaign in so-called guerrilla zones without paying the campaign fees.
Two mayors in southern Negros, whose identities were withheld, have reportedly received extortion letters from CPP-NPA breakaway faction leader Carapali Lualhati.
Aliño, however, said they have not monitored any report of candidates harboring private armed groups in Region 6.
It is only the NPA that is engaged in atrocities, he said. We are conducting aggressive operations against them.
Col. Jeffrey Sodusta, 303rd Infantry Brigade, said they were coordinating with the 6th Regional Mobile Group and the police in Negros Occidental to stop the atrocities of rebels in Negros.
Military records show that the CPP-NPA collected about P200 million and 92 firearms nationwide during the May 2001 elections, and murdered 30 government officials who refused to pay permit-to-campaign fees.
Eighty-one of the 600 barangays in Negros Occidental have been classified by the military as areas of concerns in this years elections.
The NPA is reported by the military to be demanding P500,000 from congressional candidates, P300,000 from gubernatorial bets and P50,000 from mayoral candidates.
By FERNAN MARASIGAN
Candidates in the May elections who will pay the so-called permit-to-campaign (PTC) fees to the communist New Peoples Army may be held criminally liable, the police said Sunday.
If evidence warrants, we will not hesitate to file charges against them. Paying PTCs to the NPA rebels is tantamount to treason, said Senior Supt. Joel Goltiao, National Police spokesman.
But Goltiao admitted that it would be very difficult for authorities to get witnesses and other evidence to prove that a certain candidate or politician paid the NPA to campaign in so-called NPA-controlled territories.
Goltiao said the National Police is working with the Armed Forces to monitor extortion by the NPA, particularly the demand for PTC fees.
Director Avelino Razon Jr., chief of the National Polices Directorate for Operations, said payment of PTC fees to the NPA is an act of aiding and abetting criminal elements.
Director General Hermogenes Ebdane Jr., National Police chief, earlier cautioned candidates in far-flung areas not to fall prey to the election-extortion scheme of the NPA.
Ebdane said the hostile actions by the NPA are designed to project an image of strength and presence in some areas where they intend to pursue extortion in the guise of permits to campaign.
He said the same scheme was also monitored even in some areas with ghost or skeletal guerrilla fronts, and even in some areas where there is no existing NPA armed component or front unit.
This is outright criminal extortion that directly affects the sovereign exercise of free elections, Ebdane said.
He ordered all police regional directors and concerned directors of the National Support Units to initiate aggressive police operations to neutralize the extortion.
Ebdane also cautioned candidates that the NPA would only be too happy to accept bribes to finance the new three-year plan of terrorist expansion envisioned by exiled communist party leader Jose Maria Sison.
In effect bribes paid to the NPA will not be used to propagate ideology or social reform. Instead, they will be used purposely to buy more ammunition, guns and explosives to conduct further atrocities. There is actually no ideology involved, Ebdane said.
By MARS W. MOSQUEDA JR. - Manila Bulletin
CEBU CITY Cebu Gov. Pablo Garcia warned yesterday candidates in the May 10 elections that several people are roaming around pretending to be rebels and collecting "revolutionary taxes" or "permit-to-campaign" fees.
Garcia said several groups are allegedly taking advantage of reports that members of the New Peoples Army (NPA) have started extorting money from candidates.
Garcia cited a case in Barili town where a man introduced himself as a rebel and demanded money, via telephone, from a woman whose husband is working abroad.
The woman asked for police assistance, and this led to the arrest of the man who was later found to be not a rebel but a mere extortionist.
The governor believed that the rebels are really asking money from candidates and that no one could stop the politicians from giving in to the rebels demands for the purpose of getting votes in the rebel-controlled areas.
But the governor warned that the candidates should not be hoodwinked that easy urging them to verify thoroughly, via the police and the military, if a man is a rebel or not. The midnorth areas in Cebu, traversing the boundaries of the third, fourth and fifth districts, are the places believed to be under the influence of the rebels.
Earlier, members of the Regional Intelligence and Coordinating Committee of the Police Region 7 Office (PRO 7) discussed information about politicians in Central Visayas who were giving "permit-to-campaign" (PTC) fees to the NPA.
PRO 7 Director Rolando Garcia said Camp Crame authorities have gotten hold of the names of politicians who have given PTCs and are now studying appropriate actions to be taken against these election bets as soon as it is confirmed that they have given financial aid to the rebel group.
The Central Command (Centcom) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines said it already has a list of the names of Cebuano candidates who have been giving financial support to members of NPA in the form permit-to-campaign fees.
But Centcom spokesman Capt. Antonio Ruba said that the Armys Intelligence Division has yet to conduct an investigation to verify the names in the list.
"Centcom will conduct confirmation based on the list," Ruba said. "We will make sure that these candidates really gave cash to NPA for their campaign."
Ruba said that they would immediately submit the list to the Commission on Elections as soon as they could confirm the illegal activities of the candidates.
Meanwhile, Director Garcia confirmed that Centcom is also monitoring politicians in Central Visayas to determine who among them are giving fees to the NPA.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had earlier ordered the military and the police to stop the collection by communist rebels of PTC fees from candidates.
CAMP ALLEN, Baguio -- Politicians in Abra province and nearby Ilocos Sur have reportedly started giving guns and money to communist guerillas to gain access to rebel-controlled areas once campaign period starts.
Lieutenant Col. Elias Escarcha, Civil Relations Service (CRS) group commander for the Cordilleras and Ilocos Region, reported on Saturday that the mainstream New Peoples Army (NPA) under Jovencio Balweg allegedly started collecting P1,000 to P3,000 from politicians in the towns of Malibcong and Bangilo.
Campaign period for national candidates will start on Tuesday while local candidates will start campaigning next month.
Balweg is one of the primary suspects in the assassination of his brother and former renegade priest Conrado "Ka Ambo" Balweg in Malibcong, Abra on Dec. 31, 1999.
Escarcha reported that the rebels were collecting money from mayors and councilors on a monthly basis. He claimed that some of the money even came from the towns' Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) share.
In Ilocos Sur, Escarcha said one of the barangay captains in Bananayo town allegedly gave two M-16A1 riffles to the rebels purportedly to gain the support of other barangay chairmen whose areas of jurisdiction are reportedly controlled by the rebels.
Escarcha said the giving of money and guns to the rebels is "simply a form of extortion," chiding the rebels for taking advantage of the May 2004 polls to promote their vested interest in the guise of sourcing out funds to finance livelihood projects in government-neglected areas.
"The rebels have managed to steal blood money from the people and development funds intended for the barangays," Escarcha said.
On Wednesday, communist guerrillas in the Cordilleras announced they would be charging a maximum of P500,000 as permit-to-campaign (PTC) fee from each congressional candidate who wants to woo voters in areas that the former controls.
The Agustin Begnalen Command of the mainstream Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army (CPP-NPA) also clarified that only congressional and other local candidates who have no anti-revolutionary records would be allowed to conduct campaign sorties in NPA-controlled areas.
Diego Wadagan, the command's spokesman, also said the P500,000 PTC fee is also negotiable, depending on the economic status of the candidate.
By JAIME ESPINA
BACOLOD CITY - Communist rebels rejected President Arroyos call for them to stop issuing permits to campaign (PTCs) to candidates in the May elections, saying this was part and parcel of the CCP-NPA [Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army]s revolutionary government function.
President Arroyos call was made immediately following the signing of the Oslo Accord between the government and National Democratic Front following last weeks formal round of peace talks in the Norwegian capital.
The talks, resumed after more than two years in limbo, almost collapsed again over the issue of the continued inclusion of the CCP-NPA and CPP founder Jose Ma. Sison on the terrorist list.
However, differences were ironed out after both parties agreed to undertake joint efforts to work for the rebels delisting.
The President said stopping the exaction of the PTC would show the rebels good faith after the signing of the agreement.
But in a statement reacting to the Presidents call, CPP spokesman Gregorio Rosal said, The resolution of socioeconomic- and political-reform agenda in the peace talks are matters that should be settled first and with dispatch and should not precede the question of the CCP-NPAs PTC policy.
Rosal also called on the President to desist from needlessly distressing the peace negotiations by prematurely raising issues which should be tackled at the proper time.
In the spirit of the peace talks, he said, the President should refrain from issuing derogatory statements that criminalizes legitimate state functions of the revolutionary government.
Without any substantial agreements on socioeconomic and political reforms, Rosal said the President had no business asking the CCP-NPA to stop making its own policies and formulating remedies in the interest of the revolutionary movement and people.
The CPP spokesman claimed that although the rebels have yet to win and establish their government, there nevertheless exist two parallel governments in the country -- the moribund reactionary government and the ascendant autonomous revolutionary government, led by the CPP.
Rosal claimed that revolutionary authorities have as much right to implement and collect fees and taxes as the reactionary government has.
The main difference is that the PTC fees and other revolutionary taxes and collections serve the interests of the people, while the tax and other collections of the Philippine government are pocketed by the ruling class and corrupt big bureaucrats, he said.
Rosal claimed: It is almost always the candidates who seek out the revolutionary authorities to ask permission to conduct their campaigns in the revolutionary [movement-controlled] areas, and that the permits issued by the rebels were also necessary to define the candidates conduct inside territories of the revolutionary government.
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