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‘Local bets pay for Red support’

A former political officer of a leftist group warned Tuesday that the communist New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front were endorsing candidates for local elective posts in the May 13 elections in exchange for millions of pesos in “campaign fees” and permit-to-campaign payments.

“Ka Nonoy” Alcantara, who said he was the former NDF liaison officer for its Electoral Unit and was responsible for handling the Makabayan Party and other left-leaning party-list groups, said nine prominent politicians—whom he did not name—were even “donating” sums from P10 million to P20 million to the Communist Party of the Philippines, the NPA, and the NDF to gain their endorsement.

In February, the Department of the Interior and Local Government disclosed that 349 government officials were giving out cash to the communist groups in exchange for PTCs or campaign permits.

Without revealing names, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said his department held a list of officials allegedly supporting the NPA, based on data gathered from the 2016 and 2018 elections.

Año revealed that communist rebels have amassed around P195.5 million from extortion activities against politicians since 2016.

In that regard, Alcantara accused his erstwhile communist comrades of “giving up their ideologies” in exchange for money from politicians “that once pushed for the country’s close connections with the United States.”

The former rebel asked the government, particularly the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to help stop the communists’ collection of campaign money from politicians.

Alcantara said negotiations are transpiring between the leftist organizations and candidates who want to be endorsed to voters in areas infested with communist rebels. 

As a result, the former rebel said “there could be a demoralization happening in the lower units in the NPA” for the communist movement’s support even of candidates who have opposing ideologies.

He said the CPP has becoming more desperate in its support of national candidates in exchange for campaign fees.

The military had warned politicians running in the midterm elections not to pay PTC fees to communist rebels, but CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison said there was no such thing.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had said the rebel collection was nothing but extortion during the election period in areas where the CPP and its armed wing, the NPA, are active.

Col. Noel Detoyato, spokesperson for the Armed Forces of the Philippines, urged candidates who might be forced to pay PTC fees to coordinate with the AFP and the Philippine National Police for their security.

Lt. Gen. Danilo Pamonag, head of the AFP Southern Luzon Command, also warned candidates that they could face legal sanctions if they paid PTC fees. “Supporting terror organizations is punishable by law. A permit-to-campaign scheme is a form of extortion, which is illegal,” Pamonag said.

Topics: New People’s Army , National Democratic Front , “Ka Nonoy” Alcantara , Communist Party of the Philippines
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