Communist rebels extorted P200 million from 2016 poll bets - DILG

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 28 2019 09:58 AM

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MANILA - Communist rebels were able to raise about P200 million by extorting from local and national candidates who ran in the 2016 elections, an official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government said Thursday.

This figure is a "conservative" estimate of how much the New People's Army was able to collect from "permits to campaign" and "permits to win" fees paid by the candidates, according to Asec. Jonathan Malaya.

The practice is particularly rampant in the Bicol region, but has also been observed in the Ilocos region, Southern Tagalog, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and the Davao region, he said.

Local candidates pay hundreds of thousands of pesos to the armed group, while national candidates pay millions, he said. 

Though they have no confirmation if anyone paid, intelligence reports indicate that presidential aspirants were asked to pay P20 million, and vice-presidential candidates P10 million, said Malaya.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año has directed the Philippine National Police to monitor and do case buildup this election season, especially on the 349 politicians in the department's watchlist, he said.

Año previously revealed that the list includes 11 governors, 5 vice governors, 10 provincial board members, 55 mayors, 21 vice mayors and 41 councilors. There are also 126 barangay captains, 50 barangay councilors, and 8 other barangay officials. 

Malaya reiterated the DILG's call to candidates not to give in to paying fees asked by the rebels, and instead seek government assistance when campaigning in areas believed to be their stronghold.