MANILA - A man who claims to be a former member of the armed communist movement in the country said Tuesday the New People's Army (NPA) has been getting information on which rural infrastructure projects to attack from its contacts inside the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Jeffrey "Ka Eric" Celiz, who was presented by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in a Senate hearing, said he had first-hand knowledge of the scheme as he was recruited into the Communist Party of the Philippines in the early 90s when he was still a student in Iloilo.
"They (CPP-NPA) cannot overthrow the government, but they can make Smart and Globe pay P200 million," Celiz told Senators during their investigation on red-tagging, referring to the country's 2 largest telcos.
The armed communists would either "bomb" or set cell towers in provinces on fire if the telcos and other infrastructure owner refuse to pay, he said.
"Ang source namin paano namin nalalaman sa'n ang mga project? DPWH," he said, without elaborating on how the information is coursed from the agency to rebels in rural areas.
(Our source of information on which infrastructure projects to target? DPWH.)
The DPWH has no immediate statement on the remarks of Celiz.
"If there is one single biggest mafia-style, highly-organized, most prolific organization to come in the face of the earth, it's the CPP-NPA," Celiz said.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson said it was an "open secret" that businesses usually allocate at least "2 percent" of project costs for the NPA's "cut."
Forty percent of the money the NPA collects from blackmailing businesses in the countryside is remitted to the organization's Central Committee, while 60 percent goes to regional operations, said Celiz, who now works as a government consultant.
"Hindi ko po masagot categorical [kung magkano], pero may napupunta po sa Netherlands dahil nandun po ang CPP International Department," he said, noting that CPP founding chair Jose Maria Sison has been taking refuge in Utrecht, the fourth largest city in the Netherlands.
(I cannot say categorically how much is sent, but something goes to the Netherlands because that is where the CPP International department is.)
The CPP-NPA can wire as much as P300 million to the Netherlands as the organization skirts anti-money laundering laws by using European non-government organizations, Celiz said.
Lacson ordered Celiz to submit to the Senate panel the list of non-government organizations allegedly helping the CPP-NPA transmit millions of pesos to the Netherlands.
Before he was identified as an ex-CPP-NPA member, Celiz was first known as the former spokesperson of former Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog, who President Rodrigo Duterte identified as a narcopolitician.
A certain Jeffrey Celiz was also included in the President's so-called "narco-list."