Poll bets warned vs. supporting NPAs in exchange for armed protection

By John Rey Saavedra

May 4, 2019, 4:10 pm

<p>Lt. Gen. Noel S. Clement of Central Command in Cebu City <em>(File Photo)</em></p>

Lt. Gen. Noel S. Clement of Central Command in Cebu City (File Photo)

CEBU CITY -- The highest military official in the Visayas on Saturday warned candidates for the May 13 mid-term elections to refrain from giving financial assistance to the communist New People’s Army in exchange for armed protection or they will face charges for financing a terrorist organization.

Lt. Gen. Noel S. Clement, commander of the Central Command (Centcom), said rendering support to NPA terrorists now that election day is near is a violation of Memorandum Circular 2018-211 issued by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The memo circular reminds local chief executives and local government officials that giving any form of support to the NPA terrorists is a violation not only of Executive Order 773 (Further Reorganizing the Peace and Order Council) but also of Republic Act 10168 or The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012.

According to him, the military and the police will closely monitor candidates who are reported to be allied or giving support to the NPAs in exchange for using them as armed goons to terrorize and harass voters on the day of election.

“We will not hesitate to make the necessary actions and forward to DILG the names of candidates who are supporting the CNTs (Communist New People’s Army Terrorists), and using them as private armed group during the elections,” Clement declared in a statement sent to the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

“Those vying for government positions should not in any way support the CNTs as they should be working with the government that the CNTs are trying to overthrow. As government officials, they should be protecting the democratic process of the state,” he added.

Clement urged all government officials in the Visayas region to strictly abide by the memorandum circular.

“I remind the regional, provincial, city and municipal peace and order councils to use moral suasion or to recommend sanctions against local chief executives and other local officials supporting the NPAs in the Visayas,” he said.

Clement’s statement came after the revelation made by Brig. Gen Benedict Arevalo, commander of 303rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, that more than 30 local government officials in Negros Occidental have been supporting the NPAs.

The report also said that some of the 30 officials in the province have even allied themselves with the communist terrorist organization.

The statement quoted Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. as saying, “There’s no need to call on them not to support the CNTs. It is their duty not to do so. Those who support the CNTs are also against the government.”

The chief of Centcom encouraged the voters in the 16 provinces of the Visayas to be vigilant against the activities of the terrorist NPA, citing its evil plans, which may derail the democratic process.

“Cooperate with the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP (Philippine National Police) to help ensure an honest, orderly, peaceful and credible elections, and not to be intimidated to report candidates providing financial and logistical support to the CNTs,” Clement said.

The Communist Party of the Philippines - NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)