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.